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Achieving safely managed sanitation, important for Africa - Dr. Kanangire PDF Print E-mail

African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW) is working with its strategic partners in the sector to ensure that Africa not only meets the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6.2 but also effectively maximises the use of the resources in the huge quantities of faeces generated every day.

In a message to commemorate World Toilet Day, AMCOW's Executive Secretary Dr. Canisius Kanangire noted that the need of achieving safely managed sanitation cannot be overemphasized because benefits are enormous and range from improved wellbeing to good health, to socioeconomic development and to brighter future for the nations and individuals.

Statistics from 2015 estimate that globally about 9.5 million cubic meters of human excreta and 900 million cubic meters of municipal wastewater are generated every day. These contains enough nutrients to replace 25 percent of Nitrogen and 15 percent of phosphorus currently used in synthetic fertilizers, and could be enough to cultivate about 40 million hectares of land.

To put it in context, at a city scale, the wastewater including faeces from a city of 20 million people (about the population of Lagos in Nigeria) contains enough recoverable plant nutrients to fertilize about 1 million hectares of farmland which is capable of producing about 3 million tons of crops! And this is just from the agriculture perspective.

Dr. Kanangire said that since AMCOW was formed, it has aggressively pushed the sanitation agenda.

"This led to the AfricaSan initiative which birthed the eThekwini Ministerial commitments which were later endorsed by the Heads of State and Governments in the Sharm el-Sheikh declarations in 2008. The AfricaSan initiative of AMCOW has since continued with other activities like the AfricaSan conference which is a key knowledge sharing event and the AfricaSan Awards which seeks to recognise and reward innovations in the sector on the continent," Dr. Kanangire noted.

This strong political will and leadership led to a massive revolution in the enabling environment for sanitation service delivery. However, only less than 10 countries in Africa met the MDGs for sanitation. In 2015, African Ministers in charge of sanitation and hygiene endorsed Ngor commitments for sanitation and hygiene.

These carry the vision to ensure everyone everywhere in Africa has access to safely managed sanitation and hygiene, and that there is an end to open defecation in the continent. The commitments take into account among other things the need to eliminate untreated waste and to encourage its productive reuse. In addition, the commitments also seek to engage other sectors to encourage innovation in sanitation products and services.

AMCOW called upon players in the sanitation sector to prioritise sanitation agenda and embrace the technological revolution. AMCOW has prioritised sanitation in its strategy for 2018 – 2030. This, it hopes, will among other things, give the sanitation sector the political support, increased budgetary allocation, the policy and institutional reengineering it deserves and needs.

As the conversation around the need for a reinvented toilet for resource recovery gathers momentum, AMCOW calls on Africa’s leaders to personally be the champions for the 21st century sanitation sector where public policy, public and private funding and people’s participation will lead to the breakthrough in the innovations we need.

 
AMCOW disscusses possible strategic partnership with JICA PDF Print E-mail

Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) paid a courtesy call to the African Minister's Council on Water (AMCOW) in Abuja to discuss possible strategic partnerships.

Speaking during the visit, AMCOW's Executive Secretary Dr. Canisius Kanangire said that AMCOW views JICA as a partner and that JICA can play an important role in the area of disaster capacity development.

"Disaster capacity is what we see JICA helping us with. Africa needs small but effective plans to address disasters on the continent," said Dr. Kanangire

Dr. Kanangire noted that AMCOW was looking at how to innovate to deliver on its mandate. "We are in the process of strengthening AMCOW to effectively deliver on its mandate. We have re-organised and strengthened our capacity but above all we are exploring new and innovative ways in implementing water and sanitation across Africa."

The Executive Secretary said that AMCOW was developing and providing a platform for coordination for Member States on issues of sanitation and water. The Executive Secretary lamented the high level of defecation on the continent and noted that this needs a high level of commitment from African governments.

Dr. Kanangire called on the continent to develop a think tank mechanism to be able to transform the environment on which water is managed in Africa. "It is critical that we engage and empower our youths in the Water and Sanitation Sector to harness the Demographic Dividend through investments in the Youth.. We must provide them with ways and means andcapacitate them to help with the many issues surrounding the continent especially in the Water and Sanitation Sector."

"We are asking JICA to help with the Volunteer and Internship Program for the ouths in Africa who in turn will help the vulnerable people on the continent. The youth should benefit from capacity building to make Africa become the engine of development."

The JICA delegation was led by Takashima Wataru, Project Formulation Advisor (Water supply) and Professional Engineer (Water Supply & Sewerage) Japan International Cooperation Agency Kenya Office who said that it was critical for JICA to visit AMCOW's Secretariat and lean more about what AMCOW was doing. He noted that the delagation will convey what was discussed in the meeting to JICA headquarters, stating that the information shared in the meeting will be usefull for decision making on any collaboration in near future.

AMCOW is an Institution with ample opportunity to be the platform for coordinating action on the African continent toward accelerated improvements in the water and sanitation sector and the SDGs.

The central role of AMCOW in Africa also gives it the unique mandate to revitalize the efforts of the continent to translate into reality by 2025 Africa Water Vision of “an Africa where there is an equitable and sustainable use and management of water resources for poverty alleviation, socio-economic development, regional cooperation and the environment.”

 

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