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Water security, an enabler for Africa's development

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  • Water security, an enabler for Africa's development
    Mauritania - National Integrated Rural Water Project. Credit: African Development Bank

Access to water and sanitation, human rights recognised by the United Nations, are basic elements for people to live a dignified life. However, despite the progress made in recent decades and the establishment of the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals, Africa continues to present truly worrying figures in this area.

Data for 2020 show that 387 million people (35% of the population) in sub-Saharan Africa did not have access to a basic water supply, 734 million people (67% of the population) did not have access to even basic sanitation, and 810 million people did not have access to hygiene services. But perhaps most worrying are the trends: climate change and population growth make water insecurity a major issue.

All of this calls for a change of course in which the work of actors such as the African Development Bank is essential. Osward Mulenga Chanda, Director of Water Development and Sanitation explains in an exclusive interview with Olivia Tempest the Bank's new Water Strategy, a key tool for achieving the Bank's five priorities: "food security, energy security, industrialization, regional integration and improving the quality of life”.

But this is not the only mention of the African continent in this eleventh Smart Water Magazine Bimonthly. Four of our columnists: Alison Wedgwood, Chris Ashmore, Hassan Tolba Aboelnga (with Ayat Soliman), and Zaid Railoun (with Reshoketswe Maepa), reflect on how digitalisation, the circular economy or investment in infrastructure should contribute to solving this crisis as quickly as possible.

Africa features in the first issue of 2022 but let me also recommend the interviews with Sara Walker from WRI on corporate water stewardship, and with Juliette Lassman from the OECD and Jaime Baptista from LIS-Water, on water governance. Finally, don't miss SEKO's report on how 5G and IoT are influencing the development of pump technology in the water treatment sector and the analysis of ACCIONA's knowledge management and its impact on more efficient water management.

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