Minister calls for greater Roles for Small Water Enterprises

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Safe Water Network is committed to improving the health and livelihoods of millions of people in need of safe water. Through its Beyond the Pipe Forum series, the organization aims to convene key stakeholders in order to realize the potential of small water enterprises locally owned and operated water businesses to reach millions of Ghanaians lacking access to safe, affordable, reliable water.

Building on ideas shared during the 2017 Forum, this year’s event highlighted the tangible efforts being made to make the scale of small water enterprises a reality. Attendees were offered a real-life proposition developed by Safe Water Network, IRC, EY Ghana, and World Vision that defines the requirements for replicating small water enterprises in Ghana.

In addition, the financial consultancy Lion’s Head Global Partners shared their findings of an investigation into the proposition for a Ghana Water Enterprise Trust (GWET) developed by Safe Water Network in consultation with Lion’s Head Global Partners and legal firm Laryea, Laryea & Co.

Honorable Joseph Kofi Adda, the Minister for Sanitation and Water Resources, reflected on the 2017 forum, saying “When I addressed the forum last year, I was the new Minister of Sanitation and Water Resources, with barely one month in the newly created Ministry. Now that I have been in the position for a year, I have an even greater appreciation of the role that small water enterprises can play to help achieve the Ministry’s vision of water for all by 2025, and Sustainable Development Goals 6.1 for safely managed water supply by 2030.”

Mr. Charles Nimako, Ghana Country Director of Safe Water Network underscored the requirements for success in scaling small water enterprises. This, he said, includes: financing; a network of skilled implementers along with the required toolkits, supportive supervision, and regulation, an appropriate governance framework and a conducive policy and enabling environment for replication.

Emphasizing the importance of bringing together innovative partners in a collaborative event, Mr. Nimako argued, “We can’t do it by ourselves. That is why we are here today talking about how we bring other implementers on board to support not just Safe Water Network, but also the entire sector.”

Mr. Kurt Soderlund, Chief Executive Officer of Safe Water Network in his delivery said he was happy the shift in thinking that has occurred among stakeholders in the Ghana water sector.

He said “What I really think about from the last six years when we came to have the first forum was a lot of debate and discussion around, ‘is there a role for small water enterprises? Is there a role for private sector? Is there a role for private capital to participate in delivering water systems?’ And what’s so encouraging is: that debate is behind us. The discussion is not if and whether, but how much.”

Mr. Chris Dunston, Senior Program Officer of International Programs at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation supported Safe Water Network’s comprehensive approach, saying “This turnkey solution can really provide a dramatic change in water service delivery here in Ghana.”

Contributing to the conversation, Fred Smiet, the First Secretary of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, suggested: “Our project with Safe Water Network is an exemplary example of the projects we had in mind when we designed the Ghana Netherland WASH Program.” He concluded by saying that Safe Water Network “contributes to a more healthy, clean, and sustainable Ghana.”

Source: Adovor Nutifafa

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