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"As heads of state and governments, we must aim to close the water investment gap in Africa for the achievement of not only the water-related SDG targets on the continent, important as they are, but to enable the African continent to achieve her overall developmental goals."

This was the clarion call by President Hage Geingob during the launch of the International High-Level Panel Campaign, titled Mind the Gap: Invest in Water Raising Ambition, in a speech read on his behalf by the Minister of Agriculture, Water, and Land Reform, Carl Schlettwein.

The campaign, which was launched on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, aims to mobilise US$30 billion per year for water investments by 2030.

Dr. Geingob called on members of the panel to be alert to the fact that no development is possible without water.

Namibia, he says, supports the notion that the link between climate change and the water cycle requires that water be placed at the centre of the climate change agenda.

‘’We face the climate change crisis. The effects are now clearly visible, with droughts and floods increasing in intensity, out-of season storms, intense wildfires and consequent flooding, unprecedented heat waves, glacier melting, and rising ocean levels. All these climatic changes are having severe effects on the water cycle, making secure water supply more difficult, more expensive, and often out of reach for developing countries. In Namibia, the driest sub-Saharan country, these effects are now severe’’. Geingob said.

The Cabinet Committee on Water Supply Security, established in 2016, prioritises preventing and addressing water crises by ensuring a long-term sustainable and secure water supply.

The Head of State says since then significant progress has been made in securing funding for water projects, as water now has its own budget vote and public budget allocation has increased dramatically.

President Geingob says, ‘’We have been able to secure a loan of N$1.9 billion from the African Development Bank. Development partners like KfW (German Development Bank) offered a loan and grant to the tune of 125 million euros, and other donors are on board to complement our budget allocation. Despite this fact, there remain significant gaps in water infrastructure investment and financing. Furthermore, Namibia is committed to meeting Sustainable Development Goal Six (SDG 6), which aims to ensure access to clean water and sanitation for all by 2030 and to raise related investment’’.

Currently, about 94% of the Namibian population has access to safe drinking water, and the President admits that meeting the remaining 6% is a challenging task.
However, programmes and projects have been developed to meet SDG 6 by 2030.

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Blanche Goreses