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High urbanisation worries experts

By Vision Reporter

Added 24th November 2009 03:00 AM

Water experts are concerned about the high rate of urbanisation which has resulted in 162 million people living in slums in Africa.

By Josephine Maseruka

Water experts are concerned about the high rate of urbanisation which has resulted in 162 million people living in slums in Africa.

The leaders also decried the poor sanitation in most African states, which has contributed to high rates of disease.

They concurred that their main challenge was ensuring the equal services were delivered to the less privileged in society.

The concern was raised at a three-day scientific and technical council meeting of the Africa Water Association (AFWA) at Speke Resort, Munyonyo in Kampala on November 24.

Water experts from 17 African countries as well as France and England discussed how to improve water and sanitation services equitably.

They said Africa’s rate of urbanisation was the highest among other continents.

The experts noted that 80% of the people who migrated to urban areas lived in slums.

The state minister for water, Jennifer Namuyangu, noted that water coverage was at 70% yet sanitation was at 10%.

She said this would fail nations from reaching the Millenium Development Goals by 2015.

Namuyangu pointed out that inequity in service provision was a challenge in rural and urban areas.

“This shows you the dilemma politicians face when it comes to distributing the national cake. Districts and the rural communities think of themselves yet challenges in the urban centres are growing fast,” she said.

Dr. William Muhairwe the managing director of the National Water and Sewerage Corporation, said they have a programme that helps poor people to access water.

He assured Ugandans that the corporation would continue to invest in order to reach out to those who lacked piped water.

Muhairwe, however, said using pre-paid metres was expensive in slums due to the cost of metres.

He announced that from March 15 to 18, Uganda would host the 2010 AFWA Congress at Munyonyo.

AFWA secretary general Sylvain Usher said the association started in 1980 with the aim of building capacity and networking across the continent.

High urbanisation worries experts

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