Five million people in ten countries - eight of them fragile states - are set to benefit from an Africa-wide resource mobilization initiative aimed at improving their access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.
Rwanda which is championing this African Union-led initiative under the patronage of President Kagame, and the African Development Bank Group which is hosting the funds, signed the agreement formalizing the "Kigali Action Plan" (KAP), on the fringes of the 23rd AU Summit.
The Kigali Action Plan aims to mobilize at least EUR 50 million to help finance water supply, improved sanitation and hygiene for five million people in 10 African Union Member States. The KAP is intended to mobilise a part of the Euros 50 million by championing water and sanitation programmes in Africa and by soliciting direct donations from individuals through a crowdfunding platform.
The Initiative is in response to the inaugural African Water and Sanitation Report to the AU Assembly, which indicated that Africa will miss the MDG targets for water supply and sanitation by gaps of 16 per cent and 22 per cent respectively. It also showed that expenditure was below requirements and highlighted the need to address tissues hindering the implementation of Africa's commitments towards water and sanitation.
The Kigali Action Plan provides the combination of the much needed political leadership, commitment and innovation required to deliver the Water and Sanitation MDGs under the patronage of President Kagame of Rwanda. It will focus on the implementation of direct action at community level aimed at redressing rural household water supply and sanitation deficiencies in Africa.
The following ten countries, all of them considered to be off-track in achieving the MDGs, were selected: Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Lesotho and Mauritania. With the exception of Lesotho and Mauritania these countries are regarded as fragile states.
The signing ceremony between the Government of Rwanda and the African Development Bank formalises the hosting of mobilised resources by the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSSI) Trust Fund. The RWSSI Trust Fund, together with contributions from the AfDB, bilateral and multilateral agencies, African governments and communities aims to accelerate access to drinking water supply and sanitation in rural Africa in order to attain the MDG targets in 2015 and the African Water Vision targets of 2025.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, AfDB's Vice President in charge of Agriculture, Water, Education, Human Development and Natural Resources, Aly Abou-Sabaa commended the AU and Rwanda for choosing the AfDB to host those funds. "The RWSSI Trust Fund is a strategic vehicle. With some EUR 140 million contributed to date by the Trust Fund Donors (Burkina Faso, Canada, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Switzerland), we have been able leverage a total of some EUR 5 billion for rural water supply and sanitation. The AfDB, through the RWSSI Trust Fund, has provided clean water for 82 million people and improved sanitation for 57 million", Mr. Abou-Sabaa said.
Eligible activities for RWSSI-TF resources are water supply infrastructure specifically for off-track and fragile states, sanitation infrastructure, development of rural water and sanitation policies, programme and project preparation as well as capacity building and training.