Wednesday, January 27, 2021

African faith leaders set differences aside to address water scarcity

At least seven major faith traditions from a sizeable number of African countries converged at Cresta Lodge in Gaborone, Botswana, for a 5-day conference that ended yesterday (Saturday), to explore ways in which the continent can steer free from conflict despite challenges presented by limited water resources.

 To this end, experts and water engineers as well as key authorities from the Botswana government, Southern African Development Community (SADC) and from the First World were engaged to make presentations on alternative strategies of exploiting existing water resources,  better management  and increased access for communities.

Explaining the purpose of the summit, which was the third since the first was held in 2002, Johannesburg, South Africa, Lucas Letlhogile, Media Relations Officer for Inter-Faith Action for Peace in Africa (IFAPA), said, “The event was no way intended to provide a platform for dogmatic debates, but a pragmatic initiative aimed at confronting problems which affect all of our (African) people regardless of religious association.”

Letlhogile pointed out that it is in that spirit, that the summit devised how countries can work together to  capitalize on modern technologies and develop shared infrastructure for the collective benefit of their communities with a view to making the most of available water resources.

The idea of coming up with proactive measures to prevent and, where feasible, resolve conflicts across the continent was mentioned as one of the objectives of the third IFAPA summit.

“One of the means ┬áthrough which this is going to be done is by way of identifying specific locations in Africa where water issues are especially critical, and in the same vein agree on actions in response to such,” posited the IFAPA spokesperson.
In addition, the fight against poverty, illiteracy and HIV and AIDS formed an integral component of the agenda of the inter-faith discourse.

The Great Lakes and the Nile Rivers seemed to be some of the key water sources under the spotlight.

It was stated that although Africa has potential vital sources, poor or lack of the right techniques and infrastructure to access them, remains a serious challenge for African countries. Thus, the interaction of experts and policy makers, according to IFAPA, offers  a deliberate  platform to explore a range of possibilities.

Another Summit titled “A Mother‘s Cry for a Healthy Africa” was tentatively launched by the Minister of Labour and Home Affairs (MLHA) Letlhogonolo Siele. The┬á IFAPA┬á Summit was held under the theme, “Envisioning a Peaceful Africa: Water for All”.

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