The Ministry of Water and Energy (MoWE) said it is working tirelessly to help the private sector to take the lead in water and sanitation development programs and make drinking water accessible to all.
Speaking to the journalists yesterday, MoWE Minister Habtamu Itefa (PhD) stated that consolidated efforts are underway to enhance the role and contribution of the private sector in water and sanitation development. To this end, the ministry is revising the water development policy and facilitating conditions to bring the private sector to the forefront.
Habtamu added that the Wash Program, which is being practiced in Ethiopia, is productive and the effectiveness of the program will help mobilize additional resources for water and sanitation.
“We will also take lessons from other nations in this summit. The private sector needs to invest in development of water and sanitation since the gap can be filled by investors’ participation. We are revising the water policy development to bring the private sector in the water and sanitation development program forthwith.”
Speaking at WASH Leadership Summit of Eastern and Southern African nations on the same day, Finance Minister Ahmed Shide said that the concept of the Sustainable Development Goals is to transform the world and to end poverty, inequality, protect the planet, and ensure inclusive prosperity.
The summit brings together finance and water ministers, development partners and leaders of the private sector in Eastern and Southern Africa for in-depth discussion on Wash access.
“My government believes that access to Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) is a basic right of all people, and today in Ethiopia 60 million people lack access to basic water supply, 112 million lack access to improved sanitation, and 22 million are still practicing open defecation.”
The absolute access gap in Sub-Saharan Africa is rising due to the high population growth rate although access rates to improved water and sanitation are increasing. Frequent droughts and floods, driven by climate change, further exacerbate the situation.
The minister added, “Out of the 22 countries in East and Southern Africa, Ethiopia has the largest access gap amid achievements. We as Africans have our commitment to the Africa Water Vision for 2025 and Africa Agenda 2063, which will help us realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals and to meet universal WASH access.”
Huge access gaps on WASH require strong leadership from finance and water ministers to ensure better and faster delivery of the service. In this regard, the Ethiopian government has created a national program platform for sustainable and universal WASH, bringing together four sector ministers (Water, Health, Education and Finance) as well development partners, Ahmed remarked.
BY MISGANAW ASNAKE
THE ETHIOPIAN HERALD WEDNESDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2023