AMCOW President’s Welcome Message for AfricaSan7 Conference

On behalf of the entire AMCOW family, I would like to welcome you to the 7th Edition of African Conference on Sanitation and Hygiene – AfricaSan7.

AfricaSan is one of AMCOW’s path-breaker initiatives conceived out of the recognition that investment in sanitation has historically been neglected on our continent. Addressing Africa’s sanitation challenge requires the involvement of all stakeholders including political leaders, government officials, development partners, civil society, the academia, and the private sector. It is for this reason that the AfricaSan7’s theme is: “Strengthening Systems and Partnerships for Accelerated Action on Safely Managed Sanitation and Hygiene”.

Sanitation is essential for human dignity. It is the bedrock of our well-being an essential element for human health. It delivers economic, social and environmental benefits. Lack of sanitation can be a barrier to individual prosperity and sustainable development. When children, especially girls, cannot access private and decent sanitation facilities in their schools and learning environments, their right to education is threatened. When adults miss work due to illness resulting from lack of sanitation facilities, they may find themselves in financial difficulty, threatening their livelihood and families. And when health systems become overwhelmed and productivity levels fall, entire economies suffer.

Working in collaboration with Governments and partners, AMCOW is keen on raising sanitation’s profile on the Continent. We want to see an enabling environment created to improve access to safely managed and sustainable sanitation services across our Member States.

Our yearly AfricaSan Ngor Commitment monitoring process, rooted in the 2008 Declaration of the African Union Heads of State and Government, serves as a mechanism that reviews progress and guides our action on sanitation and hygiene. The assessment outlines our progress and also potential avenues for growth. It informs discussions at various levels.

Our African continent is characterized by a special nature that may require unique solutions and innovative technologies suitable for our countries and our peoples. You may agree on the importance of resorting to sharing our diverse and innovative experiences and providing information and lessons learned at country level. This helps us to maximise impact from the principle of peer-to-peer cooperation.

AfricaSan7 gives a chance to explore how we can collectively work to address pending challenges, drawing upon our shared resilience, experiences, and lessons. We must be mindful of our recent experiences, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the urgent need to implement the UN 2023 Water Conference commitments related to sanitation. Considering Africa’s continued efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal Six (SDG6), I urge all our Member States and regional institutions to participate actively in the upcoming AfricaSan7.

I would like also to invite our development partners to contribute generously towards a successful AfricaSan7. I encourage all of us to participate in this year’s AfricaSan Conference to review progress and address issues related to the sanitation economy and private sector involvement, among other topics. These issues were underscored as emerging priorities during the 13th Ordinary Session of the Executive Committee of AMCOW in October 2022.

On behalf of the AMCOW family, I would like to thank the President and the people of the Republic of Namibia, through my good friend, Honourable Carl-Hermann Gustav Schlettwein, Minister for Agriculture, Water and Land Reform, for accepting to host AfricaSan7 in the coastal city of Swakopmund.

Prof. Dr. Hani Sewilam,
Minister for Water Resources and Irrigation, Arab Republic of Egypt,
AMCOW President

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