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Published on: 25/10/2022

Dr Tanko Yussif Azzika

Excellency, Dr. Alhaji Mahamudu Bawumia, Vice President, Republic of Ghana, 

Honourable Mrs. Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Ghana,

Honourable Dr. Eng. Habtamu Itefa Geleta, Minister for Water and Energy, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, and AMCOW Vice President for Eastern Africa,

Dr. Patrick Moriarty, CEO IRC, 

Mr. Osward Chanda, Director, Water and Sanitation Department, AfDB, 

Delegates of AU and UN Member States, 

Representatives of our Development Partners,

The Media Fraternity,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

All protocols observed. 

It is a great honour for me to take this opportunity on behalf of AMCOW to share some perspectives at the end of this important All Systems Go Africa symposium, indeed the first of its kind in Africa. The Executive Secretary of AMCOW, Dr. Rashid Mbaziira would have liked to attend this meeting in person, but unfortunately, due to a scheduling conflict, he was unable to make the trip to Accra, hence the need for me to step into his giant shoes to deliver these reflections.

Honourable Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, you will agree with me that it has been a great symposium with intensive deliberations all in the pursuit of taking stock of our collective progress and best practices towards achieving the continental and global goals on water and sanitation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, we all are extremely grateful to the Honourable Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources and the Government of Ghana for the excellent effort they have put into making this symposium a complete success. Please permit me to congratulate IRC and all its partners for the technical and logistical support they have put into the organisation of this symposium.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the outcomes of this symposium are further reinforcing AMCOW’s mission of providing political leadership, policy direction and advocacy in the provision, use and management of water resources for sustainable social and economic development and maintenance of the African ecosystems. 

The outcomes of the symposium also considers the Dakar Declaration: A Blue Deal for Water Security and Sanitation for Peace and Development and ongoing continental commitments on water and sanitation. 

Honourable Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, indeed, despite the significant efforts made by Member States over the past decades, the symposium have further thrown more light on the fact that progress in drinking water, sanitation and hygiene is still far below targets of the Africa Water Vision 2025. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, the 2022 Africa Water and Sanitation sector monitoring report (WASSMO 2022) indicates that Africa is on track to achieving only one out of 11 indicators of the Africa Water Vision 2025. And that is only the enabling environment. But we are seriously off-track on targets, on improving Africa's water wisdom, meeting the urgent water need, and strengthening our financial base for our desired water future. 

We are thus obliged by this slow progress to deeply reflect on the necessary actions that we need to take in our governance and management systems at the local level, district, national and regional levels to facilitate further action on the achievement of the water and sanitation goals of the continent. 

Honourable Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, this slow progress on achieving the targets of the Africa Water Vision 2025 demands urgent action and increasing the tempo beyond business as usual.  We cannot continue to engage in business as usual and expect better results. 

Ladies and Gentlemen, against this background, a key element of the outcomes of this All Systems Go Africa symposium is to revitalise action on the water and sanitation goals in Africa. A consolidation of the solutions and resolutions that emerged from the various sessions in this symposium calls for urgent action on: 

  1. Area-wide planning to ensure universal access to services, using innovative approaches of service delivery required, and technical support to districts or local authorities for mobilising financial resources to implement strategies and masterplans for WASH.
  2. Design and implementation of national climate-resilient financing strategies for achieving and sustaining the Africa Water Vision, Ngor commitments and the SDGs; these are strategies that address the fundamental issues which block financial flows, including improving institutional and budget absorption capacities, as well identifying concrete strategies to mobilise more resources. This should start with prioritising domestic resource mobilisation using taxes and tariffs. 
  3. Promotion of utility models in rural areas and small towns for achieving safely managed services in households, schools, healthcare facilities and public places; including benchmarking for stimulating progress, recognising the strong position of utilities as a means to catalytic and scalable initiatives. This includes coordinated investment in strengthening and supporting utilities to perform in the envisaged role and ensuring that no one is left behind.
  4. Improving data, knowledge management and information sharing for evidence-based decision making. This calls for the institutionalisation of National Coordination Platforms for data collection and monitoring that includes all institutions – national bureaus of statistics, Ministries in charge of Water and Sanitation affairs, Ministries of Education, Health, Agriculture and Environment, utilities and among others.
  5. Acknowledging the reality of fragility across the continent as part of the system, better connection at the intersection of the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus and the Water-Energy-Food-Environment nexus to develop resilient systems and critical needs in fragile contexts.
  6. Making the principles of valuing water the backbone of the post 2025 Africa Water Vision – recognising equity, inclusion, gender, and a cross-sectorial value of water.  
  7. Prioritising resources and financial investments for the sanitation economy – the sanitation and hygiene business should be every business business. In this regard, we have opportunity in utilising the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPGs) to improve the sanitation policy environment in line with continental and global best practices to improve the investment outlook for the sector. And;
  8. Provision of requisite framework and enabling environment for the private sector, women and youth to participate in and contribute to decision making and provision of water and sanitation services. 

Honourable Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, given the above outcomes and resolutions, indeed the time for action is now. The true success of our collective efforts from this symposium will be measured in terms of how we translate these resolutions into action for the benefits of our people at all levels. These resolutions and outcomes are going to be used to inform the revision of the Africa Water Vision, as it is coming to a close during the coming three years.

Ladies and Gentlemen, one of the great strengths of the systems approach is that everyone has a role to play in achieving the goals, whether you are at the community level, the national level, the regional level or the global level. 

I believe in the power of systems, AMCOW believes in the power of systems, and I believe we all believe in the power of systems. Together we can affect the needed change and get Africa on good track towards achieving the Africa Water Vision 2025, Ngor commitments and the SDGs. 

We are calling high-level political leadership: As the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana has communicated in his opening statements, presidential commitment requires more than an endorsement but investment in developing a path to achieve to the goals that have been set. This is a natural part of AMCOW's agenda for the coming years and will require the active participation of all stakeholders mobilised at this symposium. 

Honourable Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen, in conclusion, I wish to invite all the international community consider the outcomes of this symposium as we develop our implementation plans. As AMCOW, we will use these resolutions or solutions to inform the key messages to inform Africa’s common position and voice at COP27 in November 2022, the AU Groundwater summit in December 2022 and the UN 2023 Water Conference in New York. 

This symposium is going to be institutionalised on a rotational basis in Africa. The next event is being planned for 2025; the country to host the 2025 symposium will be communicated in due course. At that symposium in 2025, we shall reflect on these resolutions and assess ourselves against the progress made on the calls for action as stated here.

On this note, I call for all hands-on deck for systems strengthening. We commit ourselves, as part of this system, to make effective and efficient use of our positions and resources, to improve our performance and mobilise more resources for the sector. 

Till we meet again, I wish us all safe travels back to our various destinations. 

I thank You!

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