By Folasade Akpan
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) on Thursday said it has approved a new Water Strategy for 2021-2025.
In a statement issued in Abidjan, the bank titled the five-year water strategy as: “Towards a Water-Secure Africa’’ and said it was approved on Nov. 17.
It aims to increase water security in Africa and to foster its sustainable, green and inclusive socio-economic growth and development.
Dr Beth Dunford, the bank’s Vice-President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, said it was a significant milestone for the bank.
This, he explained, was in terms of regarding water development and sanitation as key components to improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
She said the strategy would help the bank to expand its role as the continent’s partner, while promoting integrated development and management of Africa’s water sector.
The strategy is expected to guide AfDB’s implementation of its policy on water, which it approved earlier in 2021.
The water strategy’s four pillars underscore the importance of water and sanitation for socio-economic development; sustainability, resilience, and inclusivity; food production, nutrition and hydropower.
It aligns with the bank’s high fives and thus contributes also to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union’s Agenda 2063.
Osward Chanda, the bank’s Director for Water Development and Sanitation was quoted as saying that water is a key enabler for many of the United Nations’ SDGs.
“The bank considers water to be essential for life, health, dignity, empowerment, environmental sustainability, peace and prosperity,’’ he said.
The bank said that more than 100 of its stakeholders provided inputs to develop the strategy, which the board lauded as exemplary.
The bank recalled that since 2010, it has invested an estimated 6.2 billion dollars in water supply and sanitation services.
It recalled also that as at the end of October 2021, its active water sector portfolio stood at 5.02 billion dollars.
This, it said, comprised 104 projects implemented in 40 countries and five multinational projects. (NAN)