KIGALI: Uganda’s Dr. Eng. Silver Mugisha who is the President of the African Water and Sanitation Association (AfWSA) has urged water supply and sanitation sector players in Africa to innovate homegrown solutions for a water-secure continent.
Delivering a keynote address at the opening of the International Water Association (IWA) Water and Development Congress & Exhibition (WDCE) 2023 happening at Kigali Convention Centre, Rwanda, Dr. Mugisha said the continent needs to reverse the trend of being net importers of technology solutions to creators of solutions.
“Can African water supply and sanitation actors develop a mindset that what man can innovate anywhere on earth, they can also innovate it themselves? Can’t they reverse the trend of being net importers of technology solutions to creators of solutions,” Dr. Mugisha said during a ceremony opened by Rwandan Minister of Infrastructure Dr. Jimmy Gasore
He said that despite billions of dollars of investment to solve Africa’s ongoing water crisis, there’s still much to be done, a development he emphasized can only be solved by locally developed solutions.
Dr. Mugisha who is praised for transforming Uganda’s National Water and Sewerage Corporation (NWSC) into a leading water utility organization in Africa said there is no one-size-fits-all solution, which may explain why, according to the United Nations, half of all donor-led schemes to provide safe drinking water fail in the first two to five years.
The NWSC Managing Director also discussed the need to look at operating efficiency reforms and structured cost containment measures as the most feasible way to get the continent out of the black hole.
“Can we have a paradigm shift from adopting solutions because others have them to adapting solutions because we need and can afford them,” he suggested to over 3000 participants attending the weeklong congress.
Out of the 2 billion people and 3.5 billion people who lack access to safe sources of water and sanitation, respectively, he said the biggest access problem of water supply and sanitation services is in Africa.
He suggested that bolder actions are needed to scale up what works well and address systemic obstacles to water security and sanitation.