On 16 January the West Africa Regional Platform meeting will be held. The meeting will focus on Mali, Benin and Ghana. Job Udo, Strategic Adviser on Water for Ghana, answers three questions about key water developments in Ghana and the region that make attending worthwhile.
What are the main developments?
“Let me highlight three of them that are relevant both for Ghana and for the region. The first is the need for better dredging of rivers, deltas and reservoirs. This has hardly happened in recent years, with all the consequences of flooding, shortages of irrigation water and so on. Together with the World Bank and the embassy, we are working on a long-term approach for performance based dredging. We expect to launch a tender soon for a feasibility study on this topic in Accra.
A second theme concerns integrated water management. There are various problems in the deltas along the coast of Ghana and West Africa in general, such as pollution, salinisation and flood risk. Blue Deal has submitted an application to support addressing the challenges in the Volta Delta. The Blue Deal application involves the Dutch water authorities and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Infrastructure and Water Management.
And the third theme is the combination of water and agriculture. Food security is a high priority for West Africa in 2019. Cities are growing fast and the demand for food is keeping pace. Irrigation needs to be better addressed. We are working with the Ghanaian irrigation authorities to identify promising areas. We then want to start pilot projects with the Dutch water sector in Ghana and, at a later stage, in the region.”
What is your role as a strategic adviser?
“My role is to find the connection and act as a linking pin between the water challenges of the country, the strategic long-term plans of the Embassy, the programmes of financial institutions and the expertise of the Dutch water sector. To do this, I work closely with the Embassy, RVO.nl and NWP. Together we can identify opportunities that benefit both the country and the Dutch water sector.”
Why should sector organisations attend the sector meeting?
“Precisely because we are talking about these themes. It is mainly a network event where companies, NGOs, knowledge institutes and government organisations can meet and collaborate on a number of cross-cutting themes. They can seize opportunities, scale up and lay the groundwork in more countries in the region. And it also provides the input that enables strategic advisers such as myself to do our work better in the interests of the sector.”