AfricaSan is one of AMCOW’s path-breaker initiatives to promote political prioritization of sanitation and hygiene and attended by Ministers responsible for sanitation and the key agencies working in sanitation and water in Africa.

Poor hygiene and lack of access to safe sanitation and large-scale open defecation continues to underlie major health problems, undermines economic growth, pollutes the environment, prevents girls from school attendance and traps Africans in poverty. Over 800 preventable child deaths occurred every day in 2013 in Africa from diarrhoeah, caused primarily by poor sanitation and hygiene. The latest update of the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program shows that 644 million Africans in Sub-Saharan African still do not have access to improved sanitation and that one in 4 Africans practice open defecation.

AfricaSan is primarily a pan-African political initiative to build momentum to address this ongoing epidemic. It has lobbied to influence global, regional and national sanitation and hygiene targets; to better make the case for investment in sanitation and hygiene; and to improve sectoral performance. Since AMCOW adopted AfricaSan, its political influence has grown and AfricaSan 3 was honoured with the attendance of His Excellency Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda.

Since 2008 AfricaSan has been associated with establishing and tracking progress towards achieving the eThekwini commitments. AfricaSan has also features a growing and high-level learning exchange on different aspects of sanitation and hygiene service improvement. AfricaSan conferences, with their blend of political engagement and technical exchange have attracted growing recognition as the key events in the sanitation calendar in Africa.

AMCOW has established an AMCOW Sanitation Task Force that has oversight over AMCOW sanitation activities, and steers the design and development of AfricaSan meetings.

See past editions for previous AfricaSan conferences