Loading...
See More

Water investment crucial for Africa

Mar 16 2012 08:30 Reuters

Related Articles

SA seeks offshore funding for water build

Emergency plans for rising acid water

Water shortages by 2025

Water committee 'making headway'

Cities must prepare for shortages - report

Councils drowning in water debt

 

Marseille - A failure to invest in water infrastructure is holding back the economies of many sub-Saharan countries, said African Ministers' Council on Water (Amcow) executive secretary Bai-Mass Taal.

“In sub-Saharan Africa, we are unable to convince them that giving money for water is an economic investment; that you will get your money back,” he told Sapa, speaking at the World Water Forum (WWF) in Marseille, France.

“They cannot see it. What they can see is that when they give agriculture money, use fertilisers, and then sell the produce, then something comes back.

“Now we are telling them that water is an economic commodity. Every dollar (US) spent on water, you can get from $6 to $12 in return.”

Taal said many African countries were spending “too much money” on health.

“In sub-Saharan Africa, over 60% of hospital beds are occupied by patients with water-borne diseases… If you invest in water, you are reducing your medical bill.”

Amcow had started a dialogue with African finance ministers “so they will know that water is the backbone of their economic development”.

He said water was the “driving force” for economic development in Africa - not only the provision of drinking water, but for agriculture as well as hydroelectric power.

Taal cited the example of South Africa's multi-billion rand investment in the Lesotho Highlands Water Project, from which water is being used to fuel economic development in Gauteng,

Asked if he thought a rocky road lay ahead for sub-Saharan Africa, he said policies in many of the region's countries were changing.

“Policies are changing… We know that we are only using about 8% of our water resources in Africa… We have to use the rest for development.

“We hope that, by 2040, we will have achieved the master plan that has been drawn for Africa.

“It's going to be bumpy, but it's not gloomy,” he said.

South Africa's Water Minister Edna Molewa said it had become apparent there was “very little coordination” between what was said at Amcow meetings and what was being done in some sub-Saharan countries.

Molewa is the current president of Amcow.

Speaking to Sapa on Thursday, shortly before leaving Marseille to return home, she said that as president she had realised “there has been very little coordination and reporting back in our countries of origin, when we return from meetings.

“For me, that's actually the biggest problem, because even after attending a meeting as a minister… when you return, you do not report or engage with colleagues to get plans embodied and infused in your local programmes.”

This had resulted in a lack of funding, a lack of buy-in on the ground, a lack of coordination and a lack of delivery, Molewa said.

Among the resolutions adopted by Amcow at the forum is one to call finance ministers to attend their meetings.

Africa is one of the key focus area at the WWF, which ends on Friday. An estimated 350 million people on the continent do not have access to safe drinking water and 450 million are without sanitation.

 
africa  |  environment  |  water
NEXT ON FIN24X

 
 
 

Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Company Snapshot

We're talking about:

Small Business

Retailers of any shape and size can now unlock the power of mobile transacting.
 
 

Africa: Land of Billionaires!

Find out who are the richest of the richest in Africa!

 
 

Men24.com

Best bro movies 2014
Every man should be able to do these three things
Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!
Hottie of the day: Jesselyn

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...
Loading...