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African Ministers Council on Water meet in South Africa

The African Ministers Council on Water, a grouping of ministers responsible for water in 41 African countries, recently met in South Africa for the 2nd annual Africa Water Week.

South African cabinet minister Trevor Manuel gave an address to these ministers.

He concluded his speech with, “I urge you to remind all the world’s leaders that ‘Maji ni Uzima’; ‘Eau est Vie’, ‘water is life’ and that as Africans we have been robbed of water, robbed of life and that democracy itself is imperiled. We have as a reminder the words of Maude Barlow, the co-author of Blue Gold: The Battle Against Corporate Theft of the World’s Water, who said, ‘Every day more children die from dirty water than HIV and AIDS, malaria, war and accidents put together.’ I hope that this message will become the battle-cry of the AMCOW.”

While Manuel has been strongly criticized by non-governmental organizations in South Africa for the failures of successive ANC governments on key water issues, it is significant that he has used this quote as a “battle-cry” for AMCOW.

We will be looking at how the water ministers in AMCOW could be approached to further our work for a blue covenant and a global emergency plan to address the water crisis.

The full speech can be read at