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Experts root for market-driven solution
to Africa’s water, sanitation crisis 

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- African countries should harness market-based initiatives supported by the local private sector to bridge a yawning water and sanitation access gap in the continent, experts said at a forum in Nairobi on Tuesday.

According to the experts attending the two-day Aid and International Development Forum Africa Summit, harnessing capital, skills and technologies from industry could offer durable solution to water and sanitation crisis in the world’s second largest content.

Tobias Omufwoko, the Country Director of the Wash Alliance Kenya said a market driven approach should be adopted to boost access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation in Africa.

“Countries in Africa should rethink their models of tackling water and sanitation challenges. The business sector could present more innovative and long-lasting solutions if it is given the right incentives,” Omufwoko said.

Delegates attending the Pan African Aid Summit in Nairobi who included policymakers, industry executives and scholars agreed that the continent’s prosperity hinges on universal access to clean water and sanitation.

Omufwoko noted that private sector investments in water and sewerage infrastructure have improved access to these critical services in Africa’s urban centers.

“The private sector has also been supplying innovations like solar based water treatment gadgets to communities in remote areas,” said Omufwoko.

“Small and medium sized businesses have also supplied affordable water harvesting technologies in rural Africa,” he added.

Experts stressed that political goodwill combined with friendly policies is key to stimulate investments in water and sanitation sectors across the sub-Saharan African region.

Alberto Ibanez Llario, Solar and WASH Specialist at the Eastern Africa Regional Office for International Organization for Migration, said that mobilizing resources from the local private sector is an imperative in order to expand water supply and sanitation infrastructure in Africa.

“The market based mechanisms to address water and sanitation access gap can work in Africa in the light of higher investor confidence, reforms and political stability in most parts of the continent,” Llario said.



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