The Malian Minister of Energy and Water, Malick ALHOUSSEINI, officially launched the 19th International Congress and Exhibition of the African Water Association this Thursday, January 26, 2017 in Bamako. Scheduled to take place from February 11 to 16, 2018 at the International Conference Center in Bamako, the theme of this 19th AfWA Congress is “Accelerating access to sanitation and water services amidst climate change challenges.” This is a continental event organized jointly by the African Water Association, the Malian Drinking Water Utility (SOMAGEP) and the Malian Drinking Water Assets Company (SOMAPEP).
Nearly 2,000 participants are expected to attend this event, which will be held for the first time in Mali. This official launching ceremony brought together about 200 participants, including professionals from the water and sanitation sector, technical and financial partners, members of the academic community and the civil society. The Malian Minister of Environment, Sanitation and Sustainable Development, along with the Governor of the Bamako district, attended the ceremony.
Opening the series of speeches, the chairman of the Organizing Committee of the 2018 AfWA Bamako Congress, Boubacar KANE, who is also the CEO of SOMAGEP, wished all delegations coming from abroad, namely from Côte d’Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Benin and Niger, a warm welcome before adding that this launching ceremony marks the beginning of the action plan of the local committee responsible for organizing this important event.
Sylvain UHSER, AfWA’s Executive Director, outlined the background of the African Water Association and the programs it is implementing for member utilities. These programs aim to build their capacities and contribute to improving their performance to provide better water and sanitation services to the populations.
Officially launching the 2018 AfWA Bamako Congress, the Minister of Water and Energy invited all his departments to include the organization of this congress into their activities plans. “The challenge of the access to safe drinking water and sanitation services is a concern to all of us,” he said, especially since at least 3 million Africans do not have access to drinking water and sanitation services. At the request of the Local Organizing Committee to have the President of the Republic of Mali, HE Mr. Ibrahim Boubacar KEITA, preside over this Congress of AfWA in 2018, the Minister of Energy and Water gave the assurance that he would do his utmost to ensure that this request is met.