Image: Hydroelectric photo created by wirestock – www.freepik.com“>Wirestock via Freepik
Senegal and the west African region were in the spotlight last week as Dakar hosted the ninth edition of the World Water Forum- the largest international water-related event, held in sub-Saharan Africa for the first time. The west African country and regional neighbors have taken the lead on matters of water security for the African continent, with World Bank Group President, David Malpass, specifically commending the work of the multilateral consortium, the Senegal River Basin Development Organization (OMVS), in his opening address to the Forum.
With approval from the governments of OMVS member states, the World Bank has collaboratively implemented the Water Resources Development Project (PGIRE) in the Senegal River Basin, ensuring cross-border malaria prevention for the region, hydropower generation totalling 800 GWh per annum and safe water distribution pathways. Thanks to the World Bank project, reliable water supply can now be secured for the 375,000 ha of irrigable lands in the basin, along with potable water resources for the cities of Dakar (60% reliant on the river as a source), Nouakchott and Saint Louis in Mauritania- both receiving their sum total of potable water supply from OMVS implemented infrastructure.
The approach taken is an integrated one that recognizes the crucial role the river plays in improving the livelihoods of local populations and is rooted in circular economy methodology for sustainable development. In this way, transboundary water dialogues in the region effectively address socioeconomic issues, namely, gender inclusivity, conflict and violence, climate resilience, biodiversity conservation and energy security. Indeed, the theme tying together the Ninth World Water Forum over its six days of workshops and sessions this week is one of ‘water security for peace and development,’ presenting the strategic plan of the OMVS as an effective blueprint to inform other major transboundary water programs.
As Malpass outlined in his address, 90% of African water reserves lie in catchment areas that span national borders. To achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals 6, 11 and 14, governments must pool resources to maximize investment and expertise. Though Senegal sets a high bar for the continent with an 81% safe water access rate, for Africa as whole, the average sits at a mere 58%. Climate change and COVID-19 have undoubtedly exacerbated matters with nine out of ten climate change events being water-related themselves and even in Senegal, water-related extreme events have cost the country 10% of its gross domestic profit. Urgent action is needed, and the Ninth World Water Forum has proven itself the ideal space, time and location to catalyse this.
MSGBC Oil, Gas & POWER 2022
Under the patronage of H.E. Macky Sall, President of the Republic of Senegal, MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power will once again take place in Dakar, Senegal, with the event serving as a catalyst for investment and multi-sector development in 2022. To find out more visit msgbcoilgasandpower.com or contact [email protected].