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Lack of safe water causes $28.4b loss to Africa yearly

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The African continent is suffering a loss of about $28.4 billion every year due to the lack of access to safe drinking water and sanitation facilities, according to the African Development Bank.

And in response to this dire need, Guinness Ghana, one of the leading brewers of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages in Ghana will together with other businesses meet to take a closer look at the country’s water problems.

A press release from the company copied to ghanabusinessnews.com took note of the fact that pressure on Ghanaian businesses to manage their water use will increase as the risk of climate change and rising demands from population growth and industrialization begin to take effect.

The meeting which comes off Monday April 22, 2010 is part of  a series of events across Africa called ‘Water: A Business Imperative’, the release said. Other countries on the list are Cameroon, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa and the events are being held in partnership with the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF).

Guinness Ghana said in the release that the aim of the roundtable is to facilitate companies’ responsible engagement with water policy to reduce business risks and advance national policy goals, which impact positively on communities and ecosystems.

Commenting, Ekwunife Okoli, GM, Guinness Ghana Breweries Ltd, said “The private sector, as a user and provider of water resources, is an important actor in managing Ghana’s water. These roundtables provide businesses the first opportunity to engage directly with each other and with key stakeholders to achieve a more equitable and efficient use of the country’s water resources.”

The water and sanitation situation in Ghana is a dire one. Recently, a programme officer of the Environmental Health and Sanitation Directorate (EHSD) of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development, Mr. Kweku Quansah, was reported to have disclosed that Ghana requires about $1.5 billion within the next five years at the peak of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) target, in order to attain the MDG in Sanitation. He said this means that annually the country will need a capital investment of about $300 million to be able to attain the sanitation MDG target.

Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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