Home / Press Releases / World Water Week: AWF, NDF and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark discuss strengthening Covid-19 recovery in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa through climate resilience WASH services

World Water Week: AWF, NDF and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark discuss strengthening Covid-19 recovery in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa through climate resilience WASH services

21 August 2021

Cote d’Ivoire, Abidjan, 17 August 2021 - The African Water Facility, the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (MFA) will host an interactive expo at this year’s World Water Week which will take place virtually from August 23-27.

The African Water Facility and its partners will address the important topic of how to strengthen Covid-19 recovery through climate-resilient water, sanitation, and water resources management activities in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa.

“The Sahel and Horn of Africa are among the most arid areas of the continent, whose development is limited by serious water scarcity. The regions are characterized by strong climatic variability, irregular rainfall and persistent drought” said Osward Chanda, Acting Director of the Water Development and Sanitation Department and the African Water Facility of the African Development Bank before adding that most of the countries did not meet their Millennium Development Goals and are not on course to meet Sustainable Development Goals 6 on water and sanitation for all. “The time to act is now and we need to act fast and right”, he pleaded.

The ongoing Covid-19 has thrown the spotlight on the importance of WASH for disease prevention, potentially leading to opportunities for increased investments.

"Water is a key priority of Denmark’s new strategy for development cooperation. Inequalities in access to WASH have meant that the poor are most at risk. The situation is exacerbated by the impact of Covid-19 on economies, leading to increased risk of underinvestment in the sector, reduced resilience to climate change and higher exposure to COVID and other water related disease" said Rasmus Abildgaard Kristensen, Director, Green Diplomacy and Climate of the Danish MFA.

As efforts to bring the pandemic under control continue, there is a greater need to plan and advocate for a better post-Covid-19 recovery. The pandemic has brought about new impetus to respond to water sector issues differently.

"There is now the opportunity to do things differently: to build back greener, inclusive and more resilient. The World Water Week, which is an annual gathering for identifying and sharing solutions for tackling the planet's water challenges represents a real opportunity for our three organizations to share and learn about sustainable solutions to water issues; and to advocate for greater focus on sustainable, resilient and equitable WASH systems" said Karin Isaksson, Managing Director of  NDF.

As part of the Expo, the partners will host a “Talk Now” session on Tuesday 25th August at 09h00 – 10h00 (GMT) or 11h00 to 12h00 (Stockholm). During the session, the partners will present a new collaborative programme that aims to improve access to climate resilient water supply and sanitation services in the Sahel and Horn of Africa, and to contribute to Covid-19 recovery.

The partners will also be available at the EXPO during various times of the week to continue discussions about the Programme and its implementation arrangements; and to respond to questions on the Programme and their other work on WASH in Africa.

This will also be an opportunity to learn about the increased engagement of both NDF and Denmark in the water sector in general, and with African Development Bank/AWF in particular.

A programme to build back greener, inclusive and more resilient WASH

The Nordic Development Fund, Denmark Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the AWF/AfDB are preparing a Programme to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and improve access to climate-resilient drinking water and sanitation services in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Mali, Niger and Somalia.

These countries are among the world’s poorest countries. About 44% of their combined population of 258.5 million people lives below the poverty line. The five countries did not meet their Millennium Development Goals and are not on course to meet SDG6 targets while the deadline for the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda is less than a decade away. The time to act is now and we need to act fast.

“The SIWI World Water Week is an opportunity to highlight this new programme that we are preparing with our partners in the Sahel and Horn of Africa, and to showcase our support in response to the pandemic through quality and resilient water and sanitation services delivery in these regions of Africa” said Maimuna Nalubega, Acting Coordinator at the African Water Facility.

The programme aims to build the resilience of the beneficiary communities to climate change and enhance the sustainability of the water systems through infrastructure and watershed measures. The programme also supports institutional capacity building for integrated climate water resilience into the design and implementation of new water infrastructure.

The World Water Week is organized by the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI). This year’s World Water Week will address the central theme « Building Resilience Faster »



For African Development Bank

Maimuna NALUBEGA, email: [email protected]

For The Nordic Development Fund

Aage Jørgensen, email: [email protected]

For the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark

Tobias von Platen-Hallermund, email: [email protected]

Note to the editor

The Nordic Development Fund (NDF) is the joint Nordic international finance institution focusing on the nexus between climate change and development in lower-income countries and countries in fragile situations. Since the introduction of the climate mandate in 2009, NDF has built a track record of adding value by financing climate mitigation and adaptation projects in close interaction with its extensive network of strategic partners. NDF provides financing on concessionary terms in the form of grants, loans and equity. NDF engages in both the public and the private sector, and uses financial instruments flexibly, alone or in various combinations, to match the needs of the project.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark has sup­ported the water sector in Africa for decades both bila­terally and multilaterally. One of the two main pillars of the new Danish Strategy for Development Cooperation (2021) is to fight the climate crisis and reduce poverty and inequality in areas affected by insecurity or conflict. A key priority of the Strategy is climate change adap­tation and environmental protection and specifically a stronger focus on providing safe WASH services to poor communities in Africa.

The African Water Facility (AWF) is a Special Fund established in 2004, and hosted and managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) at the request of the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW). The AWF is a demand-driven, African-led project preparation facility that provides grants, mobilizes investment financing, and offers expert technical assistance to support the preparation and implementation of innovative water and sanitation projects throughout Africa. The AWF contributes to meeting the African Water Vision 2025 as well as water-related Sustainable Development Goals.