The 18th African Water Association Congress on water and sanitation was officially launched today morning by the President of Kenya, H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta and Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary EugeneWamalwa, in Nairobi, Kenya. The four day long Congress is an important regional event that provides a forum for experts in water-related fields in Africa and around the world. It allows participants to share experiences and to present new knowledge, research and developments related to water resources and sanitation utilities. The Congress, with a representation of 1500 delegates from 81 countries in the world, puts water related issues in the forefront, focusing on finding and creating innovative solutions that can improve access to clean water and sanitation utilities in Africa.
Speaking during the opening ceremony at the Kenyatta International Convention Center in Nairobi, President Uhuru Kenyatta said that water is a basic human and that the Government of Kenya is committed to providing necessary supports to programs that offer research that assures accessibility to clean water and sanitation utilities.
“My Government pledges full backing for programs of African Council of Water Ministers (AMCoW), African Water Association as well as any other institutions and sectors that envision accessibility and sustainability of service delivery,” said President Kenyatta.
Water and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Eugene Wamalwa called for more funding to go into water and sanitation research in Africa saying that water and sanitation issues have to be priority issues in the country and Africa at large, citing access to clean water and proper sanitation utilities as a key factor of economic empowerment.
Outgoing AfWA President Prof. Hamanth Kassan has lauded the great strides made in curbing the water issue in Africa and aligned this year’s Congress theme to the water needs in the region.
The afternoon session included a symposium discussion on “Sustainable Access to Drinking Water and Sanitation in Africa in light of the SDGs”. The session was moderated by apanel of experts including Engineer Lawrence Simitu – Director Water Services, Kenya, Brian Arbogast of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Diane D’Arras, Vice Pressident – International Water Association, Gabriel Negatu of theAfrican Development Bank and Chris Heymans, Water & Sanitation Specialist at the World Bank Water.
During the debate, a number of issues were discussed, including more inclusion of women in the sector and the role of financial institutions towards providing funding to ensure that clean water is accessible to all.
The 18th AfWA Congress is organized in partnership with the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company. In attendance was Nairobi Governor, Evans Kidero, among others