During a virtual address convened by the Water Research Commission (WRC) at the BioAfrica Convention, the need for partnerships to develop a water and sanitation flagship programme was identified.
The call for partnerships is to facilitate improvement in Africa for the delivery of services to citizens.
South Africa’s water and sanitation deputy minister, David Mahlobo, put this to the Convention during his address titled Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) and COVID-19: Africa’s response to COVID-19 and Beyond.
The Deputy Minister said it is time African leaders stand as a unit in order to convene solutions that would work best for Africans.
“Now more than ever, we need to elevate the African water agenda. We also need to raise the value of inter-African cooperation and partnerships in responding to water and sanitation challenges,” Mahlobo said, adding that South Africa wanted partnerships to develop a water and sanitation flagship programme, which could be initiated during its AU chairmanship.
Countries should continue sharing best practices on innovative ideas and research
“We are proud that South Africa continues to play a key and active role within the African continent in advancing and contributing to the water agenda. Within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), South Africa is active in advancing the Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) approach, as well as working within the various SADC structures, which requires engagement with other sectors that have a bearing on what we do in the sector,” Mahlobo said.
Water and sanitation technology
The Deputy Minister expressed that increased innovations in technology present opportunities for water utilities to integrate smart technologies in existing infrastructure.
He also emphasised that the role of youth and women remains critical in building a capable water sector in Africa, thus strengthening water entrepreneurship among these groups.
“[Technology] will help to minimise costs, while maximising the selection of the most suitable solutions that can be easily adapted to local conditions, also assisting with adaptation.”
Mahlobo commended African scientists for taking a proactive stance in the fight against COVID-19 across the continent by sharing information, clinical testing and trying to find innovative ways to apply African knowledge to the pandemic.
“Countries should continue sharing best practices on innovative ideas and research in order to strengthen the coordinated response to global disasters and pandemics such as COVID-19,” he said.
Edited by ESI Africa. Source: SAnews.gov.za