African governments can only achieve the water and sanitation target of the Millennium Development Goals if they incorporated all stakeholders including municipalities and the donor community in the drafting and implementation of new National water policies.
A session on water and sanitation at the Fourth Africities summit in Nairobi recommended that the continental body bringing together city managers enforce an action plan to compel governments to intensify water supply and sanitation.
The session chaired by Mr. Amadou Ly Belko from Niger, warned that the mandate of the national water operator was often too limited to manage the existing network, besides commanding weak incentives to collaborate with the private sector.
“The national operator often signs the management contract with the government for an area covering several towns. The neighbourhoods responsible for the water services are often absent from the negotiating table and have only a minimal right to control service quality,” the recommendations said in part.
The theme of the Fourth Africities Summit (18-24 September) is: “Building Local Coalitions for the Implementation of the Millennium Development Goals in African Local Governments."
In a related development on Wednesday, African city fathers were also warned that they also had to take charge of the poverty eradication goals so as to tackle growing urbanisation and growing urbanisation of poverty in a continent where 72 percent of city dwellers live in slums.
Mr. Jean Pierre Elong-Mbassi, the Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (ULCGA), said the local authorities in Africa had to be strengthened to cater for the high demands of services in their respective cities.
"Unless local authorities in this continent are empowered to achieve their goals and there is the political will between leaders, no progress is going to be experienced and the Millennium Development Goals will be tales of the day," he told a news conference.
ULCGA, which has become the recognised voice of African city mayors, said African city administrators and political leadership had to cooperate in efforts to forge a joint front in the achievement of the UN poverty eradication goals.
"Global linkages, state cooperation and private sector involvement in the management of African cities are the vehicles for African countries to development. A shared problem is a problem halfway solved," said UCLGA President, Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa, who is mayor of the South African capital, Tshwane (Pretoria).