Ghanaian Chronicle - AAGM
WATER IS critical to Africa's sustainable development. In Africa, water lies at the centre of all life and touches every aspect of human endeavor, from environmental protection to food security, from the empowerment of women and the education of girls to reduction in productivity losses due to malnutrition. Africa suffers from growing water scarcity. While Africa uses only about 4 % of its renewable fresh water resources, water is becoming one of the most critical natural resource issues. This has led the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), the lead financial institution on the continent, to take seriously the challenges imposed by the need for huge additional investments in water and sanitation on the continent. The Bank is prepared to face these challenges by sensitizing the international community on the magnitude of the need and by mobilizing additional Bank Group's resources to Water and Sanitation and through the establishment and/or hosting of special water related programs such as Rural Water Supply and Sanitation programme, the African Water Facility, the Water Partnership Program, the NEPAD Water And Sanitation Programme and other bilateral supports.It is clear now that many African countries will not meet Millennium Development Goals' (MDGs) targets in terms of poverty, health, education and gender mainly due to water and sanitation backlogs. The AfDB Group's strategy in response to this situation is to significantly increase water supply and sanitation financing; focus primarily on the poorest 65% of the population living in rural areas; provide some support for peri-urban areas, small and medium towns, emphasize specifically urban sanitation, promote trans-boundary water resources management, support the enabling environment to attract more resources, build appropriate partnerships and harmonize its operations.Under the ongoing AfDB's reforms, the first step in this strategy was the creation in July 2006of a dedicated Water and Sanitation Department to consolidate and enhance the AfDB's leading role in water sector activities in the region.In the last 4 years, the AfDB's financing in water supply and sanitation increased considerably to reach over US$ 330 million per annum between 2003 and 2006. It is expected that the2007 financing will be 50% more than the year 2006, both in terms of the number of countries supported and the volume of financing.
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