WaterAid calls for investment in the sanitation service chain at the 2022 World Toilet Summit

3 min read
Polystyrene with initials of the 2022 World Toilet Summit

In November 2022, Nigeria hosted the World Toilet Summit with the theme ‘Sanitation Innovation for Economic Development’

WaterAid staff at the 2022 World Toilet Summit
WaterAid staff at the 2022 World Toilet Summit
Image: WaterAid/Ejura Adama

Organised by the Federal Government of Nigeria, the World Toilet Organisation, and the Organized Private Sector in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (OPSWASH), the global event brought together sanitation experts, decision-makers, civil society actors, academia, the private sector and bilateral and multilateral actors from across the world.

The two-day summit brought to the fore the emerging opportunities in the secular sanitation economy and how stakeholders could maximise these opportunities. It facilitated knowledge sharing and policy dialogue on sanitation to deepen inter-sectoral and cross-sectoral linkages for sustainable improvement in sanitation service delivery; and also created an avenue for exhibitors to showcase their activities, innovations, technology, and products as well as interact with participants during the event. 

The summit objectives were:

  • To improve collaboration among stakeholders in driving accelerated access to sustainable sanitation services.
  • To enhance enabling environment for sanitation service delivery through private sector participation.
  • To mobilise investment to the sanitation sub-sector
  • To share knowledge on the market-based approaches to sanitation solutions.

WaterAid engaged participants in critical conversations, through plenary and breakout sessions, around innovations for sanitation and bridging the gap that exists across the service chain. The first plenary session, moderated by the Global Policy and Research Director, WaterAid UK, Dr Amaka Godfrey, on ‘Scaling up sanitation economy for National development’ had representatives from the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW), UNICEF, Reckitt, and the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) weigh in on the current situation of sanitation in Africa and how different actors can work together to scale-up sanitation for improved access.  

Global Policy and Research Director, WaterAid UK, Dr Amaka Godfrey moderating a panel session at the summit
Global Policy and Research Director, WaterAid UK, Dr Amaka Godfrey moderating a panel session at the summit.
Image: WaterAid/Ejura Adama

WaterAid Nigeria hosted two breakout sessions to discuss 'Safely Managed Sanitation: Bridging the Gap Across the Service Chain' and 'Achieving Sanitation at Scale through Inclusive Sanitation Policies' respectively. The first breakout session looked at issues around the sanitation value chain, highlighting and seeking to address gaps and bottlenecks in polices, financing and technology for safely managed sanitation. It also discussed the opportunities embedded in addressing these gaps and experiences in achieving safely managed sanitation in different contexts.

The second breakout session focused on WaterAid’s support in ensuring inclusive sanitation policies are in place to drive the implementation of the National Action Plan, the Clean Nigeria Campaign and ensuring the achievement of sanitation at scale.

A documentary viewing, supported by WaterAid, highlighted Nigeria’s journey to an ODF country – showcasing successes, challenges and the potential for a sanitation economy.

The 2022 World Toilet Summit was declared open by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, represented by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who in his opening remarks emphasised Nigeria’s committment to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 6.2 for Sanitation. Vice President Osinbajo added that the commitment is motivated by the realisation that meeting our sanitation targets also means meeting other very important development goals including the enhancement of social inclusion, poverty reduction, expanding access to quality education, quality healthcare and expanding business growth and entrepreneurship. He said the government recognised the need to especially strengthen the supply side of the sanitation value chain and maximise the sanitation economy potential in the country, identifying scalable approaches for their realisation.

Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo giving his welcome address.
Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo giving his welcome address.
Image: WaterAid/Ejura Adama

The World Toilet Summit has been hosted in different countries of the world, but Nigeria is the second country to host the event in Africa after South Africa hosted it in 2012. In his remark, the Honourable Minister for Water Resources Engr Suleiman H. Adamu noted that “It is our expectation that this summit will contribute to harnessing the diverse sanitation economic opportunities in the country and reinforce our national development initiatives in addressing this challenge.”

Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman H. Adamu
Minister of Water Resources, Engineer Suleiman Adamu giving his speech

The 2022 World Toilet Summit culminated in a ten-point call to action for Nigeria and the world, including a call for political leadership for sanitation at the highest levels, that is used to rally leadership at all levels; and for a gender-wise movement and the empowerment of women.

A display of the Nigerian culture by the Atilogu dancers