Representatives of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH-related) Ministries, and Finance and Health Ministries in twelve African countries are meeting in Accra, Ghana.

The countries are Ghana (Host Country), Mali, South Africa, Botswana, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, La Cote d’Ivoire, the Central African Republic, Guinea, Ethiopia and Nigeria.

Dubbed: CABRI Policy Dialogue, the three-day meeting aims to strengthen the linkages between the Ministries of Finance and the Ministries in charge of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene.

The meeting, which is being organized on the theme: Value for money in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene: policy challenges and opportunities for improved service delivery, provides the platform for sharing ideas and for obtaining an in-depth understanding of the policy and institutional challenges in the WASH sector.

The Dialogue will address key policy challenges that hinder access to basic WASH and good quality of the same to be highlighted in a Case Study of Burkina Faso; funding and financing issues; institutional structures; and innovative financing options which will be highlighted in a Case Study of Ghana.

It is being organized by the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI), an inter-governmental organization of Ministries of Finance and Budget across Africa.

In an address at the opening of the meeting in Accra, yesterday, Ms Eva Mends, Director of Budget, Ministry of Finance, Ghana, noted that even though Ghana met the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target in 2010, the challenge still remained significant as rural populations still lacked water and urban populations lacked access to safe water.

Ms Mends disclosed that in 2015, Ghana achieved 89 per cent of water coverage, but fell short of the sanitation target, with a 15 per cent services for sanitation.

She said Ghana’s vision was to achieve universal access (100 per cent) to basic water supply and sanitation services by 2025 as part of meeting the targets for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and eradicate open defecation by 2020, adding that the establishment of the Ministry of Sanitation and Water resources would provide a special focus on the WASH sector.

She noted, however, that Ghana would require US $ 386 million annually to achieve universal access to basic water supply and sanitation services and US $ 332 million annually to achieve SDGs.

Ms Mends also noted that developmental challenges and political economy constraints were not peculiar to Ghana.

This, she said, made the peer-learning element of the policy dialogue extremely valuable for all participating countries.

In her opening remarks, Nana Adowaa Boateng, Programmes Manager, Fiscal Budget Policy, CABRI, representing Neil Cole, Executive Secretary, CABRI, indicated that as part of its programme of work on value for money, CABRI had organized several policy dialogues to share knowledge on key policy challenges and financing issues.

Nana Boateng said past policy dialogues of CABRI included policy dialogues on health, education, agriculture, infrastructure and the extractives sector, adding that the Accra meeting was the first event by CABRI in the WASH sector.

Source: ISD: (G.D. Zaney)