March 22, 2016 is World Water Day. The African Development Bank is committed to investing in sustainable infrastructure to ensure access to water and sanitation for all, including the most underprivileged.
The World Bank states that Sub-Saharan Africa is still struggling with poor access to water, where 40% of the 783 million people lack clean drinking water.
"The African Development Bank through various instruments is leading initiatives and strategies that seek to improve water supply and sanitation in its member countries," said Mohamed El Azizi, Director of the Water and Sanitation Department.
Cumulatively, the Bank has approved 49 rural water supply and sanitation operations in 33 countries, contributing to improved access to drinking water for an estimated 97 million people, and improved sanitation for an estimated 70 million people. Some of the projects include:
AWF sanitation project in South Africa to raise school girl attendance
The impact of a Bank-funded water infrastructure project on life in Boma, DRC
Water, according to Josephine Kioko, a small-scale farmer in Machakos, in Eastern Kenya, is the game changer. "When you have water, everything else will fall into place. Farming will improve, so will food security; sanitation will be enhanced and diseases such as cholera will be a thing of the past," she said. Through provision of water by the AfDB, the area, whose inhabitants depended on food relief, has now been turned into an agricultural scheme where small holder farmers are generating income from food production, and are now able to fend for their families.
Kioko's remarks resonate with this year's World Water Day theme: Water and Jobs, which underscores how access to water can change workers' lives and livelihoods, and even transform societies and economies.
World Water Day has been held annually since 1993 under different themes that correspond with a current or future challenge.