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Poor Governance Major Cause Of Africa’s Water Problems, AfDB Report Says

A report released by the African Development Bank (AfDB) at a meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, during the 3rd Africa Water Week, points to poor governance as a major cause of the inadequate water supply that threatens the health of millions living in Africa, reports (Abutu, 11/24). 

“The report identifies numerous but common governance risks, and shows that these are easily identifiable and preventable. It also finds that substantial gains would be made if government assessments became standard procedure and if governance criteria were introduced in donor project approval procedures,” according to an AfDB press release.

According to the report, “[w]hile local and national institutions have the most visible role to play in governing the water sector, it is the sector’s underlying policies, legislation and regulations that provide the foundation for overall governance,” the release states. The report, presented in two volumes (here and here), suggests targets and guidelines to be used to assess African programs and projects (11/22). reports that during the meeting, Ethiopian Water and Energy Minister Ato Alemayehu Tegenu called for leaders to invest more in the water sector. “The main challenges and issues in the water sector are sustainability, capacity and finance. In order to meet the MDGs by 2015, an enormous annual investment is required which could be more than 4 to 5 times current investment rate on the sector,” Tegenu said, according to the news service.

“The minister said already, about 350 million Africans do not have access to water while numerous people on the continent were excluded from their right to clean drinking water,” according to the news service. The article also details comments made by Ethiopian President Girma Wolde-Giorgis during the conference (11/24).