The 5th Round Table on "Water and Wastewater in African Countries - Challenges - Experiences - Solutions" took place today in Berlin. Frank Heinrich (MP) in cooperation with H.E. Dr. Mohamed Abdelhamid Ibrahim Higazy, Ambassador of the Arab Republic of Egypt, had invited the participants.
The invitation was accepted by 51 diplomats and representatives of non-governmental organisations such as WASH and the Institute Water for Africa.
The Round Table was opened with a presentation on the subject of "Reforestation of Deserts in Egypt" by Dr. Hany El Kateb from the Institute of Silviculture at the TU Munich. Egypt is losing the area of 50 football pitches to farmland every day. Rural exodus and urbanisation contribute to this phenomenon. A pilot project shows that there is great potential for the use of wastewater in reforestation. The yield of wood is reached in Egypt 4.5 times faster than in Germany. Ms Neumann of the BMZ's Water, Energy, Urban Development, Geosector Department said that instead of large sewage treatment plants, sewage ponds and biogas production plants are more appropriate in Africa. H.E. Mr Henri Antoine Turpin, Ambassador of the Republic of Senegal, noted that too often, strategies for the wastewater sector are only available at national level. It is time to find solutions at regional level. H.E. Ms Sitona Abdalla Osman, Ambassador of the Republic of Southern Sudan, explained that the Southern Sudanese think that a second war will break out, namely over water. She emphasized that we have a lot of water, but we don't know how to manage it. The Ambassador of Egypt suggested that the African Union should set up a commission or get a commissioner for water. The Institute Water for Africa (IWFA) is critical of this proposal, as there are already many such bodies in Africa, which also operate across national borders. How serious the situation already is is shown by the statement of the ambassador of Southern Sudan. The Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), which brings together the Nile riparians, has been in existence since 1999. Despite cooperation in the NBI, Southern Sudan fears a war over water. IWFA still favours a neutral organisation that acts as a coordinator and serves as a central contact point for hydrological data. IWFA has the necessary expertise in this field and has already done considerable preparatory work.