A Rwandan recently unveiled as new Executive Secretary of the Abuja-based African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) says he is ready for the new responsibilities.
Dr Canisius Kanangire was appointed at a recent General Assembly of AMCOW held on the sidelines of the biennial 6th Africa Water Week that witnessed a change of guards as Tanzania’s water and irrigation minister Gerson Lwenge also took over AMCOW presidency from Senegal’s Amadou Mansour Faye.
“My main priorities will be to strengthen the AMCOW Secretariat in order to increase its visibility and stakeholders’ confidence in AMCOW as a relevant, vital institution in formulation and harmonisation of policies at the continental level,” Kanangire told The New Times by telephone from Kenya, yesterday.
He said he was looking forward to strengthening and increasing advocacy for resource mobilisation and cooperation in order to achieve water and sanitation service delivery for all as well as socio-economic development of Africans.
Kigali Action Plan
Rwanda is spearheading the “Kigali Action Plan” (KAP), a 2014 African Union-led initiative meant to improve access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in Africa.
“I will be very happy to do my best to contribute to this effort as a Rwandan and Executive Secretary of AMCOW… this KAP initiative is championed by President Paul Kagame at the request of his peers,” Dr Kanangire said.
The KAP initiative aims to improve the livelihoods of five million people in 10 African Union member states and is intending to mobilise a part of the required funds by championing water and sanitation projects in Africa through a crowd funding platform.
The 2014 AU Summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, selected Burundi, Central Africa Republic, Chad, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan as beneficiaries of the Kigali Action Plan.
Kanangire, formerly the executive secretary of the Lake Victoria Basin Commission (LVBC), one of the eight special institutions of the East African Community (EAC) coordinating interventions on the Lake and its Basin, will succeed Gambia’s Bai-Mass Taal, who leaves AMCOW after eight years at the helm.
The position has a four-year mandate, renewable only once.
Dr Kanangire plans to travel to AMCOW headquarters in Abuja next week for a familiarisation tour before he fully relocates to start work in September.
Before joining the LVBC, Kanangire was Head of Strategic Planning and Management at the Nile Basin Initiative Secretariat in Uganda.
Toward water security, sanitation
The 6th Africa Water Week represents a political commitment at the highest level for creating a platform to discuss and collectively seek solutions to Africa’s water and sanitation challenges.
While in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, African water ministers also adopted a roadmap titled “the Dar es Salaam Roadmap for achieving the N’gor Commitments on Water Security and Sanitation in Africa” aimed at achieving sustainable and universal access to safe water and sanitation all over Africa.
The Dar es Salaam roadmap aspires to ensure coherence in policy implementation, and increase gender, equity and social inclusion, and transboundary cooperation in Africa.
The roadmap also recognises the role of innovative financing and budgetary prioritisation for the water sector, sanitation and monitoring.
Other aspects of the ministers’ plan of action for the continent’s water resources include provision of drinking water, improved sanitation, hygiene, effective and efficient management of wastewater, transboundary water resources, and strengthening of Africa’s capacity to respond climate change effects.
AMCOW was formed in 2002 in Abuja, Nigeria, primarily to promote cooperation, security, social and economic development and poverty eradication among member states through the effective management of the continent’s water resources and provision of water supply services.