VOTE OF THANKS BY Dr MBAZIIRA AT THE HANDOVER OF AMCOW PRESIDENCY FROM NAMIBIA TO EGYPT
4TH EXTRAORDINARY SESSION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE AFRICAN MINISTERS COUNCIL ON WATER, HELD ON THURSDAY, 23 FEBRUARY 2023.
Esteemed Members of the TAC
Colleagues from the Secretariat, I am honoured to deliver this vote of thanks and gratitude to our leadership.
I will start with you, Honourable Carl Herman Gustav Schlettwein, in both your capacity as the Minister for Agriculture, Water and Land Reform of the Republic of Namibia and the AMCOW President for 2021 – 2023.
Working under your leadership has been an enriching experience, characterised by immense learning and growth at the Secretariat.
With your guidance, we have been able to scale to new heights.
You have passionately defended AMCOW’s interests and have always been direct in negotiations on behalf of AMCOW in Africa and globally. This has demonstrated our strength as an organisation and improved our franchise value globally. Your leadership has revitalised AMCOW’s convening power as demonstrated by:
- the response by the substantive Ministers responsible for water affairs in Africa to your invitation to the 13th Ordinary Session of the Executive Committee;
- a similar response to your hosting of the Africa Focus Seminar at the 2022 World Water Week;
- the response by high-level dignitaries from all over the world to your hosting of the Focus on Africa session at the 2022 UN Summit on Groundwater; and,
- the response to the advocacy campaign that AMCOW has led for the nomination of a Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Water.
It is thus our collective responsibility to jealously preserve this legacy and continue – under the leadership of Honourable Prof Hani Sewilam – on the growth path you have set.
And to you Hon Eng Suleiman Adamu, AMCOW’s host Minister in Nigeria and Vice President for West Africa for 2021-2023.
- Your accessibility and enviable willingness to give freely of your time to advance AMCOW matters;
- Your profound insight into the political economy of motivating concrete action to move the water and sanitation agenda forward; and
- Your prioritisation of AMCOW has been invaluable to our achievements in your tenure.
You have been a tireless AMCOW Brand Ambassador.
You made the AMCOW@20 celebrations undoubtedly one of the highlights of the 9th World Water Forum.
In your tenure, the Secretariat has lacked nothing related to what is provided under the Headquarters Agreement. Indeed, you have spearheaded ongoing efforts to secure land to construct a permanent Secretariat as per the Headquarters Agreement. This will address the requirements for space given the growth at the Secretariat and contribute to assuring our financial sustainability.
And, of course, it would be amiss of me not to mention the great update to our fleet by the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria through your office. We are forever in your debt.
Hon Schlettwein, Hon Adamu, allow me to reiterate that it has been an immense privilege to serve the two of you in this role, and I hope to learn more from both of you as we move forward.
Our appreciation goes out to all the Members of the Executive Committee for the period 2021 – 2022.
The Vice Presidents: Hon. Engr Suleiman ADAMU; Hon. Sidi Mohamed TALEB AMAR; S E M Eloundou ESSOMBA GASTON; Hon. Dr Eng. Habitamu Iteffa Geleta; and S E M Carlos A Fortes Mesquita are ably represented by Hon Cecilia Chamutota. The guidance received during the tête-à-tête consultations with you shaped the regional priorities that informed the decisions of the 13th Ordinary Session of the EXCO on the AMCOW triennial work programme for 2022 to 2024.
Your leadership made it possible – for the first time – for us to have five (5) regional consultations before an ordinary session of the Council. In so doing, we operationalised the bottom-up and top-down approach that is the cornerstone of responsive continental policy initiatives.
Allow me also to single out:
- Hon Abida Sidik Mia and Hon John Bande of Malawi
- Hon Cecilia Abena Dapaah of Ghana
- Hon Alice Muthoni Wahome of Kenya
- S E M Dr Maminata Traore Coulibaly of Burkina Faso
- Hon Amb Jeanne Mujawamariya of Rwanda
- Hon Nqobizitha Mangaliso Ndlovu of Zimbabwe
- S E M Samou Seidou Adambi of Benin
- The Kingdom of e-Swatini
- Hon Eng Dr Habitamu Iteffa Geleta of Ethiopia
- S E M Fidiniavo Rovoktra of Madagascar
- Hon Sam Cheptoris of Uganda
- Hon Jumaa Hamidu Aweso of the United Republic of Tanzania
- Hon Kefentse Mzwinila of Botswana
- Hon Senzo Mchunu of South Africa
- Hon Eng Suleiman Adamu of Nigeria
- Hon Carl Gustav Hermann Schlettwein of Namibia; and
- Hon Prof Hani Sewilam of Egypt
You have led by example by contributing to ensuring the financial stability of the Secretariat to advance Africa’s water, sanitation and hygiene agenda. Allow me to highlight that your commitment to finance the core activities of AMCOW lies at the heart of the renewed interest from our funding partners to support AMCOW programmes.
To our Members of the Technical Advisory Committee, the policy initiatives undertaken during your tenure came to fruition with the benefit of your technical expertise. You invested your time to analyse and improve all propositions to facilitate higher-level decision-making and eventual practical implementation. This is what resulted in the delivery of, among others, the following:
- the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines;
- the African Groundwater Programme; and,
- the AMCOW Knowledge Hub.
To our TAC Chair, Mme Ndiyakupi Nghituwamata.
- Your open-mindedness and disposition to listen;
- your agility;
- your decisiveness; and
- your commitment to improving the financial situation at the Secretariat has been crucial to our success during your tenure.
The dedication with which your team at the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Land Reform organised the 13th Ordinary Session of the EXCO is reflected by its success it was. You left an indelible memory of Windhoek and the Land of the Brave on all that took part in the 13th Session of the EXCO.
Suffice it to say that your leadership has been inspiring, and we will utilise all available opportunities to continue to benefit from it.
To my colleagues at the Secretariat, I would like to thank you for your excellent work. Your collective efforts have contributed significantly to the results reported in the AMCOW President’s handover report. Let us remain committed to delivering the expected outputs from our triennial work programme. We are bound to face setbacks along the way. What is essential is for us to learn from our shortfalls and push forward with even more dedication.
In conclusion, I look forward to working with the new leadership while maintaining our engagement with the outgoing team. We remain at your service at all times, and I believe that working together can achieve even greater success for AMCOW.
I thank you.