Thirty-eight countries of the African continent are bordered by the ocean or the sea, but for 70% of them, their maritime exclusive economic zones are largely under-exploited. The maritime areas under African jurisdiction cover some 13 million km2 and some 6.5 km2 of continental shelf.
In a video released on June 1 at the Digital World Water Congress organized by the International Water Association (IWA), the President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, praised the continent’s potential in blue economy matter.
The Digital World Water Congress is a conference that brings together professionals and decision-makers working in the water sector at a global level.
Six main themes guided the activities of the Congress, organized this year in the form of videoconferencing. Participants discussed the management of water services, wastewater management, drinking water and its reuse, planning and operation, communication, partnership and communities, water resources and large-scale management.
Africa’s potential in the field of water remains largely under-exploited, even if its contribution to the inclusive development of the continent is well established.
The blue economy faces challenges related to weak policy and regulatory frameworks, unsustainable human activities such as overfishing, pollution and coastal erosion, warns President Adesina.
Although water scarcity in sub-Saharan Africa is 3.5% compared to 13% globally, the African Development Bank estimates that population growth combined with overloaded water infrastructure systems, poor governance and lack of investment could accelerate water scarcity on the continent.
The African continent can easily be a vibrant blue economy, points out Akinwumi A. Adesina in her video post. The fisheries sector alone employs 12 million people, the largest sector of Africa’s blue economy, providing food and nutrition security to over 200 million Africans and generating added value estimated at $ 24 billion. Americans, which represents nearly 1.26% of Africa’s gross domestic product.
The African Development Bank encourages African countries to respond proactively to the threat of water scarcity by innovating in water management methods, strengthening governance and recognizing the value of this limited resource.
Since 2010, the Bank has invested some $ 6.2 billion in the provision of water supply and sanitation services, with an asset portfolio of $ 4.3 billion at the end of 2020, comprising around 100 national projects in 40 African countries and six multinational projects.
It’s also time for developed countries to play their part and honor the $ 100 billion in climate finance pledged annually to developing countries, and ensure that at least half of that is spent on climate change adaptation. , this is the appeal made to them by the President of the African Development Bank.
The entire video of the President of the African Development Bank.