President Hakainde Hichilema has launched the Zambia Water Investment Program (ZIP) 2020-2030 that will ensure national water security and sustainable management and utilization of Zambia’s water resources for socio-economic development.
Speaking at the international high level panel on Water Investment for Africa on the sidelines of the AU summit, President Hichilema said the programme makes a game changer for Zambia’s narrative on water.
Mr. Hichilema explained that water is a key enabler of Socio-economic development and an important resource for the current and future generation.
The President added that it is gratifying to see the water sector receiving the required attention adding that with climate change, Zambia and the African continent have realized the importance of the resource.
He said climate change is real as has been seen from its impact on the water sector hence it is important that African leaders drive the agenda for economic and social development with a mindset for sustainability.
“As you may be aware we all have a responsibility to the generation that will come after us and we must pass a continent and individual countries that will sustain lives for generations to come and those that will come after them,” he said.
Mr. Hichilema called on Individuals and organisations charged with the responsibility to manage the water resources to work in harmony and coordinate in applying the best practices, to protect the sector.
And the President said investments are required in the water sector saying that it is unacceptable that the water sector is being taken for granted and takes a back row in the investment choices.
President Hichilema said Zambia and the African continent must ensure that water takes centre stage in investment decisions and that it should start at the level of political leaders to provide leadership and political will.
Speaking at the same occasion, Commissioner of the African Union for Rural Economy and Agriculture Josefa Sacko said that the transformation of water security and sanitation in Africa is important to super economic growth and prosperity of the continent.
Ms. Sacko commended Zambia for tabling the initiative on water investment program which she said is exemplary to many African countries.
She called for the need to invest in the water sector adding that the COVID19 pandemic showed the continent the importance of hygiene and sanitation towards disease prevention.
Ms. Sacko further added that the AU will support the important initiative Zambian has taken towards water investment because the water resource is cardinal in all the spheres of development.
And speaking Chief Executive Officer for African Union Development Agency (NEPAD), Nardos Thomas said water is the fundamental source of development and prosperity.
Ms. Bekele-Thomas said under the Programme for infrastructure development in Africa concerted efforts have been made to raise the profile of water infrastructure projects.
She said this is because the development of water on the African continent is a prerequisite for achieving the agenda 2063 and sustainable development goals.
Meanwhile Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mark Rutte said the investment in water is important because it trickles down to all the sustainable development goals.
Mr. Rutte, who was speaking via zoom online to delegates, appealed to leaders and stakeholders on the African continent to act together and applaud the AU.
Former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete who also spoke via zoom said about 400 million Africans have no access to water and the coming together of Head of States and leaders is key to changing the narrative.
Others in attendance were Zambian Minister of Water Development Mike Mposha and President of Senegal Macky Sall and co-chair of the African Union who followed the event via zoom.