African states launch policy framework to revitalize sanitation agenda

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Sanitation

The sanitation agenda in Africa received a boost on Thursday with the launch of a new policy framework to guide investments in a sector that is crucial to COVID-19 pandemic recovery and sustainable development.

“Developing a coherent sanitation policy is a critical step in expanding access to the basic service that is key to the socio-economic transformation of the continent,” Mousa Faki Mahamat, chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), told the virtual launch of African Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG) in a speech read on his behalf by AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko.

African Union member states partnered with donor agencies to develop the new policy framework aimed at injecting vitality into the sanitation agenda through robust financing, capacity development and technology adoption.

Faki said accelerating sanitation coverage in Africa is key to reducing poverty, easing a high burden of communicable diseases in the continent, in addition to advancing gender parity.

Kitch Bawa, sanitation project manager at African Ministerial Council on Water, said a harmonized continental policy framework will inform targeted investments aimed at expanding sanitation coverage.

The policy will guide African countries in the implementation of domestic programs geared to the realization of universal access to improved sanitation and hygiene by 2030.

Bawa said about 700 million people in Africa lack access to basic sanitation, urging governments to leverage policy reforms, improved governance and innovative financing to expand access to the critical service.

High-level delegates including ministers, representatives of multilateral institutions, academia and industry attended the virtual launch of the ASPG.

Nigerian Minister for Water Resources Suleiman Hussein Adamu said improved sanitation across the sub-Saharan African region will boost school enrolment and health outcomes for women, girls, children and the urban poor. Enditem

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