Lusaka – Zambian Vice-President Inonge Wina has directed the National Development Planning and Water Development, Sanitation and Environmental Protection ministries to design and develop a Zambezi River Basin Investment Programme.
This is in line with the government’s thrust to protect and unlock the value of the Zambezi Basin, one of Africa’s most important river basins.
Launching the 9th Zambia Water Forum and Exhibition in Lusaka this week, under the theme “Innovative Action for water and sanitation: Leaving no one behind”, VP Wina called for holistic management of the entire basin through development of specific interventions.
“We together must ensure that water contamination, poor quality, low quantities and wastage should be avoided at all costs,” she said. “Government has prioritised the water resources management and development as well as water sanitation services under the Seventh National Development Plan.”
VP Wina urged all stakeholders to develop innovative technologies and ways of managing and developing water resources while mitigating the effects of climate change.
At the same event, African Development Bank representative Ms Mary Monyau commended the Zambian government for its interventions to enhance access to clean and safe water.
She said there was need for concerted efforts from co-operating partners to bridge the gap in the provision of water between urban and rural areas.
Cabinet on August 10, 2020 declared March 15-21 every year as Zambia Water Week as part of a national drive to improve water access and sanitation. Access to water in the country has improved from 64 percent in 2014 to 72 percent, while access to sanitation services has improved from 25 percent to 54 percent over the same period.
The Zambezi River Basin is critical to sustainable economic growth and poverty reduction in Southern Africa. Enhanced management and co-operative development of the basin’s resources could significantly increase agricultural yields, hydropower output, and other economic opportunities.