U.S. Water News Online
PARIS -- France announced an increase in funding for
African water projects amid warnings that the world is falling behind
on its pledge to halve the number of people who have no access to
drinking water by 2015.
Finance Minister Thierry Breton, who hosted a meeting of African
ministers organized by the African Development Bank in Paris, said
France will increase its funding to $518.6 million by 2007 from the
previous target of $466.7 million.
The meeting brought together about 60 finance and utilities
ministers from African countries. It was seeking calls for similar
efforts from other donors.
"The supply of drinking water and sanitation are the first step on
the path to development," Breton said.
Omar Kabbaj, head of the African Development Bank, told the
conference that the lack of clean water had far-reaching
repercussions in rural communities besides increasing the spread of
deadly diseases like cholera and typhoid and boosting infant
"The onerous chore of fetching water is still the responsibility
of women and girls," Kabbaj said. "This is one of the major factors
behind the curtailed school attendance of girls in rural areas."
Five years after the international community made its pledge on
access to drinking water and sanitation, Africa "is falling further
behind in meeting this millennium development goal," Kabbaj said,
citing two recent U.N. reports.
More than 300 million Africans still lack access to drinking
water, Kabbaj said, and 400 million -- roughly half the continent's
population -- are deprived of basic sanitation for the disposal of
dirty water and sewage.
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