Abuja, September 25, 2023 – Dr. Rashid Mbaziira, the Executive Secretary of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), has called on African countries to bolster their efforts in improving water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs. This initiative aligns with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, aiming to make clean water more accessible to African populations.
Speaking in Abuja, Dr. Mbaziira emphasised AMCOW’s commitment to promoting the implementation of the African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG) across its member countries. He highlighted that the ASPG, developed based on global best practices, would ensure the delivery of safely managed sanitation services to the public. Also, he acknowledged Nigeria’s substantial support for AMCOW’s activities and stressed the importance of addressing sanitation gaps within the country.
Furthermore, Dr. Mbaziira emphasised the vital role of a functional system and partnerships with stakeholders in strengthening the enabling environment for scaling up sanitation and hygiene services. He advocated for the adoption of a stand-alone sanitation and hygiene policy in countries, asserting that AMCOW would continue to support such efforts.
The Executive Secretary noted that aligning sanitation policies with the ASPG would provide legal backing for prioritisation and institutionalisation, ensuring continuity and sustainability. He stressed the importance of recognising global and continental commitments, including SDG 6 and the Ngor commitments, while also considering cultural elements in sanitation practices.
Dr. Mbaziira commended the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation in Nigeria to promote hygiene practices, expressing AMCOW’s unwavering support for their mission. He congratulated the appointment of the two ministers in the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, Prof Joseph Terlumun Utsev and the Minister of State, Mr. Bello Goronyo, which has ushered in a new era of leadership. He stressed the continental partnership, underscoring Nigeria’s essential role as the only permanent member of AMCOW’s Executive Committee, ensuring the organisation’s leadership and alignment of goals.
Looking ahead, Dr. Mbaziira highlighted the upcoming 7th Africa Sanitation and Hygiene Conference, scheduled to take place in Swakopmund, Namibia, from November 6 to November 11, 2023. The conference, themed “Strengthening Systems and Partnerships for Accelerated Action on Safely Managed Sanitation and Hygiene,” aims to bring together technical and political stakeholders to address sanitation and hygiene challenges in Africa. The Executive Secretary urged participants to view AfricaSan7 as an opportunity for reflection and collective action to track progress towards meeting SDG 6, emphasizing the need to celebrate the positive strides being made in sanitation and hygiene across the continent.
Finally, Dr. Mbaziira invites all participants to explore the beautiful city of Swakopmund, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, during the AfricaSan7 Conference.