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Consulting Services for Preparation of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) Programme

The African Development Bank’s Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI) was a response towards the attainment of the goals of the Africa Water Vision declared at the Second World Water Forum in The Hague, 2000. The objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) gave additional impetus to the Initiative. The Bank Group developed a Concept Paper for the RWSSI in January 2002 while its Framework For Implementation (FFI) was prepared in 2003. The RWSSI made proposals for strategic measures and actions to achieve 66% access to rural water supply and sanitation by 2010 and 80% access by the year 2015. It was subsequently presented at several international fora, including the Camdessus Panel for Financing Water Infrastructure in London, 2002 and the G-8 meeting at Evian, 2003, where it received endorsement. The RWSSI also received endorsement by African Ministries Committee for On Water (AMCOW) at Dakar in 2003.

Essentially, the Initiative is intended to help mobilise as well as facilitate the flow of available and potential resources to accelerate investments in Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) in Africa. The rationale for the rural focus is to contribute towards rural poverty reduction. As a result of low access to Water Supply and Sanitation services in rural areas, rural populations are burdened to a greater extent by preventable water and sanitation related diseases, women and children suffer great deprivation from embarking on productive economic activities due to time and efforts used to fetch water. The deprivation also results in low enrolment rate in education. These problems contribute to accentuate poverty in the rural areas. Providing access to water supply and sanitation services would contribute to spur economic development in the rural areas.

The Bank’s RWSSI would be implemented through partnership with donors, Regional Member Countries and other stakeholders. This partnership would look to the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and AMCOW for political leadership, with governments and civil society embracing the key principles and practices that will create the required environment for the Bank Group and the donor community to provide technical and financial support. The partnership would foster coordinated resource mobilization, capacity building and more efficient implementation of programmes and projects, the necessary ingredients for achieving the goals of the Initiative.

The implementation of the Bank’s RWSSI has started in five countries where the Bank considers favourable for immediate investment in view of the existence of strong water and sanitation policies and institutional arrangements in those countries. Country Programme documents and proposed initial investment programmes exist for Mali, Rwanda, Ghana, Ethiopia and Uganda. There were nine countries scheduled for intervention under the Initiative in the next phase and they include Benin, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia. The Initiative will be extended to all other Regional Member Countries as resources become available.

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