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Shein deplores policies on resource allocation in Africa

24th April 2012
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Zanzibar President Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein

The African continent has not benefited adequately from its vast natural resources, including water, due to lack of sound policy and governance frameworks to ensure sustainable and equitable allocation as well as use and management of the available resources.

This was said yesterday by Zanzibar Second Vice-President Seif Ali Iddi on behalf of Zanzibar President Dr. Ali Mohamed Shein at the opening of the fourth International Hydrological Programme (IHP)-UNESCO Africa Water, Science, Policy and Management conference.

“We must accept that not all countries in Africa have water policies and where they exist few of them address management issues adequately.

I wish to stress that for sound management frameworks to function there is need for reliable and timely data and information. This is a prerequisite for informed decision making at the appropriate level,” he noted.

He said data collection networks however are expensive to establish, operate and maintain, adding that even where such networks had been established, quite a number of them are not operational due to inadequate financial resources allocated for the purpose.

Shein added that as water storage and structures and pipelines require heavy investments, there is now a need for consideration of water as an infrastructure issue and hence requiring investment financing by the private sector.

However, he said in Tanzania, for instance, the shortfall in meeting the MDG's full access of water by rural communities needs great support. Currently, the coverage stands at 58.7 per cent for rural and 86 percent for urban areas, while the MDG’s targets are 65 per cent and 90 per cent for rural and urban areas, respectively.

“There is need for allocating adequate financial resources to the water sector accompanied by good governance for Africa to make significant and sustainable socio-economic development. The moment of decision is now,” he insisted.

Moreover, he said, unfortunately the freshwater situation in Africa was not encouraging. By 2025, about 18 African countries, including Tanzania, were experiencing water stress. Presently, it is estimated that more than 300 million people in Africa live in a water-scarcity environment.

The amount of freshwater available for each person in Africa is about one-quarter of what it was in 1950. In many countries, requirements for domestic freshwater use, sanitation, industry and agriculture can’t be met.

For his part, Minister for Education and Vocational Training Dr. Shukuru Kawambwa commended UNESCO and IHP for organizing the conference at a time when the whole world was yet to recover from the global financial crisis and rising food prices.

“These and other challenges call for concerted efforts by African countries individually and collectively to address them so as to improve the social welfare of our people,” he said.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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