The African Water Association (AfWA) Scientific and Technical Council held on July 17-21, 2017 in Accra attracted great interest from several professional organizations in the WASH sector. The Toilet Board Coalition, WE&B, Isle Utilities, and ANSI are among the AfWA partner organizations that had the opportunity to share their reflections and visions to further improve access to sanitation and drinking water in Africa at the second STC of the year organized with the assistance of Ghana Water Company Limited. They shared these during presentations and workshops of exchange. The issue of sanitation is gaining more attention during the exchanges of the AfWA meetings.
Focusing on the theme of “Improving WASH Sector Performance in Africa,” the Accra STC had almost 200 delegates participate, and WASH sector professionals from 30 countries. During the opening ceremony, the Ghanaian Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources Hon. Joseph Kofi Adda invited all of the delegates to fruitful work to define important recommendations to bring to guarantee better access to sanitation services and drinking water quality for the benefit of populations. With limited access to financing, the sanitation situation in sub-Saharan Africa remains precarious.
Approximately 30 percent of the population had access to sanitation in 2010 according to World Bank figures.
During the discussion panel on the theme of “Improving WASH Sector Performance in Africa,” Dr. Doulaye Kone, Deputy Director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation indicated that “The sector must seek functioning sanitation service chains that serve and work for everyone.” Especially since the major role of the WASH sector is to reduce inequality, as 6 in 10 people do not have access to safely managed sanitation. Regarding the shortfalls in financial resources, Alex Deprez Regional Director of USAID-West Africa assured that the United States will increase resources for development assistance by prioritizing projects to the improve sanitation on the continent.
The high-level panel was followed by a discussion panel on the perspectives of water and sanitation in Africa co-hosted by Cheryl Hicks of Toilet Board Coalition, Adrahamane Ndione of the Senegalese Association of Standardization, Leslie McDermott or the American National Standards Institute and David Smith of the AfriAlliance Program. All agreed that partnerships should be strengthened to guarantee success of these different initiatives focused on issues of sanitation and climate change.
The Scientific and Technical Council in four different Specialized Committees (SC) continued work on Wednesday, July 19, 2017 continued with a presentation of work done by SC 1: Management and Administration; SC 2: Technical Management; SC 3: Sanitation and Environment; and SC 4: Strategy. Following the closing ceremony, the delegates were invited to visit a water treatment plant and tourist sites. The next AfWA Scientific and Technical Council will be held in November 2017 in Bamako, Mali.
This 78th STC Meeting will be the occasion to finalize the final preparations for the 19th AfWA International Congress and Exhibition that will be held in the Malian capital on February 11-16, 2018 at the Laico Hotel de l’Amité on the theme “Accelerating Access to Sanitation and Water for all in Africa in the face of Climate Change.”