AfDB Sponsors New African Water Initiative

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Vincent Obia

A new water initiative, “Water for Africa”, was launched recently at the Morocco Pavilion in Florida with the strong backing of the African Development Bank, AfDB said in a press release on Thursday. The presentation of the project followed the Global Water Action Day that marked the fourth day of the 23rd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 23) to the UN Convention on Climate Change.

“Water for Africa” was established under the auspices of an African COP, COP22, held in Marrakech, at the initiative of Morocco and with the endorsement of AfDB.

The presentation of the water initiative was jointly chaired by the Moroccan Secretary of State for Water, Charafat Afilal; the Director of the Water Sciences Division and Secretary of the International Hydrological Programme at UNESCO, Blanca Jiménez-Cisneros, who is also a member of the World Water Council; and Jean-Michel Ossete, Coordinator of the African Water Facility at AfDB.

Afilal said at the occasion, “The African Development Bank joined with this initiative from the outset with all the necessary goodwill.” She expressed her gratitude to the partners who had committed to the project. She particularly emphasised the intensive work done upstream to avoid any risk of duplication with initiatives already ongoing in the sector. Just one year after its inception, the initiative already has a portfolio of about 10 projects across the continent.

“In Marrakech, when we committed to have this initiative in operation by COP23 in Bonn, it seemed impossible,” said African Water Facility Coordinator Jean-Michel Ossete.

“But we really have met the challenge.” Ossete added that AfDB had quickly and “unhesitatingly” decided to fund the recruitment of an expert with international renown for in-depth knowledge of the challenges of the water sector in Africa, to ensure the quality of the paper presenting this African initiative.