The executives, who spoke at the Africa Water Association (AFWA) scientific and technical council meeting held in Nairobi, said that upgrade and expansion of infrastructure was key to end water supply and sanitation crises in cities.

sanitation Kenyan minister for water and irrigation Eugene Wamalwa in his opening remarks noted that policy reforms and upgrade of existing infrastructure will enable African countries meet their sustainable development goal on water and sanitation.

“To achieve universal access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation, African governments must embark on policy reforms; invest in modern infrastructure, personnel and innovations,”Wamalwa said.

African water utilities have joined hands to explore innovative ways to expand access to the commodity in cities and rural towns.

The Kenyan water minister noted that African utilities are grappling with under-funding and governance hiccups that have derailed their ability to offer quality water supply and sanitation services.

“We must explore public private partnerships to help bridge a huge infrastructural gap that limit the ability of African water utilities to meet their targets,” said Wamalwa, urging utility managers to invest in new technologies and innovations to help improve water supply services in the densely populated cities.

African utilities should strengthen corporate governance and explore innovative financing schemes to help narrow infrastructural gaps that deny millions of people access to safe drinking water.

Sylvain Usher, Executive Director with Africa Water Association, noted that water and sewerage infrastructure in many African cities has been overstretched due to rapid population growth.

“African utilities could borrow money from local banks or float bonds in the capital markets to upgrade or expand water supply and sewerage infrastructure in cities,”said Usher, adding that water service providers in African cities must upscale revenue collection to enable them maintain and upgrade supply infrastructure.

Philip Gichuki, Managing Director ofNairobi City Water and Sewerage Company, noted that modernizing water and sewerage systems could cost African countries an estimated 1 percent of their GDP annually. He said that a mix of traditional investments and new approaches like public private partnerships have proven to be effective in bridging infrastructural shortfalls. Endietm

Source: Xinhua


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