Z’bar for enhanced water supply  

ZANZIBAR President Dr Hussein Mwinyi on Wednesday reaffirmed his administration’s commitment to ensure all islanders have reliable access to clean and safe water.

Speaking at a reception where former Union President and Chairman of the Global Water Partnership for Southern Africa and Africa Coordination Unit Dr Jakaya Kikwete presented him with his VIP Global Water Changemakers Award at Vuga-based State House, Dr Mwinyi said Zanzibar is undergoing sweeping reforms in the water sector to address shortage of the precious and life supporting liquid in the islands.

“I have received this award with great honour; it belongs to us all, it’s ours,” President Mwinyi said, asking Dr Kikwete to support Zanzibar in execution of her water investment programme, the first of its kind in Africa.

Dr Mwinyi said Zanzibar needs appropriate plans, human and financial resources to address the problem of water shortage in the country, assuring that the five-year (2022-2027) Zanzibar Water Investment Programme whose implementation requires 1.525tri/- will be thoroughly executed.

Dr Kikwete, speaking at the event, commended President Mwinyi for the prestigious award, which the UN 2023 Water Conference introduced to honour the contribution of VIP leaders and water experts in supply of clean and safe water to all people.

“This is the newest and highly prestigious award in the world,” Dr Kikwete said, noting that the World Bank, Global Water Partnership and Korean K-Water are the brains behind the award. He challenged the isles to use the award as a catalyst to lead in implementation of the water investment programme, the basis on which Dr Mwinyi was awarded.

“I promise to accord you all the necessary cooperation; I will try my level best to ensure Zanzibar and Tanzania in general benefit from investments in the water sector in Africa,” the former union leader said, noting that the partnership is scheduled to launch a special resource mobilisation campaign in New York, United States of America, next September.

He described the award as testimony to the international community’s appreciation of efforts by the revolutionary government to address water problem in the country.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Water, Energy and Minerals, Joseph Kilangi decried shortage of water professionals, lack of water master plan and modern tools and systems for management of water related activities as the impediments in implementation of water projects in the country.

He, however, commended President Mwinyi, saying during his two years in office he has accomplished more than the country had accomplished for over five decades after the 1964 revolutions. He said Dr Mwinyi assumed the presidency when the country had only 64 water tanks with the capacity of 46.915 million litres but the construction of 25 more huge tanks has boosted water storage by 144 million litres, almost four times of the previous capacity.

President Mwinyi and Dr Kikwete scooped the first prestigious award during the UN Water Conference in New York in March 2023.While Dr Mwinyi was awarded for his leadership towards the Zanzibar Water Investment Programme, Dr Kikwete received the prize for demonstrating high level political commitment and leadership for climate resilient water security in Africa.

The Tanzanian leaders were among the award’s six recipients. Others were Senegalese President and Chairman of the African Union MackySall, Namibian President Hage Geingob, Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte and Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema.

The awards were presented at the launch of International High-Level Panel on Water Investments for Africa whose task is to mobilise 30 billion US dollars annually by 2030 to attain the sixth Sustainable Development Goal on availability of safe drinking water and decent sanitation for all.

The international high-level panel seeks to develop actionable pathways for execution of Africa Water Investment Programme (AIP) and closing the existing water investment gap in Africa.

Currently, over 300 million Africans do not have access to clean drinking water and over 700 million live without access to good sanitation.About 50 billion US dollars annually is required to achieve water security and sustainable sanitation in Africa by 2030.

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