The African Development Bank Group is committed to supporting its regional member countries in their quest to increase sustainable access to safe water and basic sanitation in urban and rural areas. In line with this commitment, AfDB Vice-President Gilbert Mbesherubusa led the Bank's participation at the just-concluded Nigerian Presidential Summit on innovative funding of the water sector held in Abuja.
More than 300 participants, comprising Nigeria's entire political leadership, including President Goodluck Jonathan, private-sector representatives, leading infrastructure experts and investors, as well as regional and international water stakeholders were convened to explore opportunities and solutions to water challenges in Nigeria. More specifically, summit participants focused on raising awareness of water and sanitation as a key driver of social and economic development, and to explore how innovative funding modalities can contribute to strengthening sector performance.
Agenda highlights included Mbesherubusa's presentation of a goodwill speech during the opening ceremony and AfDB Resident Representative in Nigeria Ousmane Dore's participation in a panel on the role of donors in promoting and implementing innovative funding mechanisms. The highly interactive summit, which ran from February 18 to 19, also provided a strategic framework for a shared and common awareness of the multi-level impact of water and sanitation on the national economic growth and synergy amongst federal, state and local Governments on funding of the water sector. Other outcomes of the meeting included, among others, identification of key actions to be taken to better target investments for sustainable impact on service provision, such as scaling up promising pilots.
The Nigerian Field Office (NGFO) and the Bank's Water Department (OWAS) will work with the Nigerian authorities at the federal and state levels to support the operationalization of the outcome of the summit.
Other Bank participants included OWAS Chief Financial Analyst, Malinne Blomberg, and NGFO Principal Disbursement Officer, Usman Mohammed.