Ethiopia targets full water, sanitation access

The Government of Ethiopia has set an ambitious target to provide full water, sanitation and electricity access to all the citizens by the year 2025, government official said.

This is indicated by Sileshi Bekele (PhD), Minister Water Irrigation and Electricity this morning at the opening of an international conference Ethiopia 2050 Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

“We are anticipating full access of water and sanitation by 2025…Urban water and sanitation system need to be taken into account and open defecation free country has to be created and all these has to be achieved by 2025,” he said.

“…With our irrigation program, we will also be entering to ecosystem services that are pretty important for food production like fisheries, crop and livestock production. And that leads us to the food security.

Reports show that Ethiopia has one of the poorest sanitation in the world even worse than the war-torn neighboring South Sudan.

Indicating that amidst double digit economic growth the country has been registering for over the past decade, Debrework Zewdie (PhD), a senior scholar from the United States indicated that Ethiopia is still one of the poorest countries in the world.

“My job today is to tell it as it is and make all of us uncomfortable with the hope that this will propel us forward,” she said, in her opening speech at the conference this morning.

Ethiopia targets full water, sanitation access
Debrework Zewdie (PhD), a senior scholar from the United States

Dr. Debrework stated that every year more than 257,000 children under the age of five die and 120,000 die in the neonatal period. Over 70% of Ethiopians do not have electricity including 24% of primary schools and 30% of health centers.

She further indicated that Internet penetration is one of the lowest in the world with around 18% while next door Kenya is 90%.

“…Only half the population has access to clean water. Only 15% have access to improved toilet. Right here in Addis Ababa only 10% of the houses have municipality’s sewerage access. The literacy rate is only 39%, which is low below the least developed average of 77%,” she said.

By 2050 Ethiopia is expected to be one of the top ten populous nations in the world along with countries such as, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Bangladesh.

Unless Ethiopia uses technology and abandon doing business as usual, Ethiopia will not meet and of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which replaced the eight Millennium Development Goals, according to Dr. Debrework. She also urged the government officials to stop stealing money from the country and stashing offshore.

Ethiopia 2050 is an international conference that aims to draft a 30 years road-map to Ethiopia’s pressing current and future challenges.

The papers presented by the scholars are expected to be summarized into a single policy recommendation that can be used as policy input by the government, according to the volunteer senior professionals engaged in different sectors.

“…through sets of grand visions and a series of peer-reviewed research reports and white papers by subject matter experts in a variety of engineering, technology, and planning disciplines, the report will offer bold, feasible, and actionable grand ideas for addressing the top 10 grand challenges of the country,” the organizers of the conference stated.

They stated that Blue Ribbon Panel of independent professionals will author this “Ethiopia 2050” final report, the successful outcome of which will be measured through its impact in:
– influencing policy making in the years to come and
– encouraging the subsequent launch of entrepreneurial, public, and government activities around the proposed solutions.