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Published on: 19/10/2022

On Wednesday, 19th October 2022, at the Kempinski Hotel, Accra, Ghana


Cecilia Abena Dapaah, Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, Republic of Ghana
Hon. Cecilia Abena Dapaah
His Excellency, the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana,
My colleague Hon. Minister from Ethiopia,
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Executive Secretary of AMCOW,
Heads of UNICEF,
Head of Hilton Foundation and Water For People,
Friends from the media,
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me a great pleasure to deliver an Opening Statement on this occasion of the “All Systems Go Africa” Symposium. This Symposium, occurring after the one held in 2019 in the Netherlands, is a direct result of lessons learnt from the latter and the need to come together as Experts to discuss the issues and to find the best way of addressing the challenges facing the WASH sector. Permit me, therefore, to welcome all of you to the symposium, which is the first of its kind on the African Continent.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen: The theme for the symposium is uniting systems thinking with technical expertise and political leadership to accelerate the vision of universal access to Water, Sanitation and Hygiene. For me, it has come at the right time because having applied all the available strategies in delivering WASH services to our people, there still exist gaps that need to be filled. So, it is important to seek and adopt other effective strategies that would help in addressing these gaps. It is against this background that I find the theme for the occasion which is to find a new response to the challenges facing our WASH sector most appropriate.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the primary objective of this symposium is to identify the current best practices in WASH systems, develop skills and tools for moving from theory to the implementation of the systems approach and to elaborate on a shared agenda for taking the learnings forward in Sub-Saharan Africa. Hence the need for inclusive platforms for multi-stakeholder dialogue about the interconnected technical, political, social, and financial systems that influence the delivery of water, sanitation, and hygiene services. These can stimulate creative problem-solving, promote the scaling-up of innovative ideas, and mobilize collective action toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

It must be emphasised that the quest to attain the Sustainable Development Goal 6, which seeks to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all” is a herculean task and cannot be achieved through ‘’business as usual’’. It is therefore incumbent on all of us to embrace a new way of doing things to attain this vision.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, the huge expectation is that participants will share their experiences of how they are using systems thinking to address persistent challenges in WASH -- and how they measure systemic improvements. There will also be a panel discussion and the panellists will be asked to:

  • describe their experiences with complex government institutional systems linking resource holders to various operating entities and how they have been hampering or conducive to performances in water and sanitation in urban and rural areas.
  • identify most critical obstacles and most effective solutions experienced for addressing them,
  • explore solutions for upscaling effective system strengthening solutions across the continent, and the needs for change in the support provided by regional intergovernmental institutions. 

It is envisaged that the three-day symposium will help re-emphasize the need to strengthening continental efforts and collaboration in managing water and sanitation services and sustaining the gains made.

Ladies and Gentlemen, on this note I once again welcome you to the programme and wish you the very best in this 3-day symposium

Thank you

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