By M.A. Egge

A high-level delegation led by the Minister of the Interior of Somaliland, Mohamed Kahin Ahmed, welcomed the officials of the IGAD regional organization in Wajale, led by the President of the Somali Region of Ethiopia, Mustafa Muhammed Agjar, who was part of a delegation of the large program of water access facilities programme being implemented in the region, dabbed GaFa.

The Somaliland delegation included the Minister of Finance, Water Resources and the officials of Gabiley region and Wajale district received the visiting delegates at the frontier town of Wajale.

They participating together in the laying of the stone for a large-scale project that is being implemented in the countries that are part of the IGAD organization, which is the utilization of underground water in Wajale, which is indeed a big deal, and would further bolster and cooperation between the countries of Somaliland and Ethiopia.

Minister Kahin highlighted the water importance of project that IGAD is implementing in Wajale, which would have beneficial impact for the residents across the borders.

He appealed to the facilitators of the project to expand the projects along the frontiers for the good of the inhabitants of the region.

He said, “our message from Somaliland to the IGAD officials who are here today is that we need to expand cooperation in terms of traffic, economic and security and the sharing of resources as a community”.

He expounded on the good working relations between Somaliland and Ethiopia, with the smooth traffic flow.

The regional organization IGAD is implementing a project in the city of Tog-wajale to utilize underground water to promote cooperation between neighboring countries in the Horn of Africa.

The President of the Somali state of Ethiopia Mr. Mustafe Muhammed Omar noted, “Today we are here for a plan that is part of a larger program to be implemented in the countries that are part of IGAD in the field of water”.

He said that the project of utilizing the land under water, a new initiative led by IGAD, will greatly contribute to the water cooperation between all countries in the Horn of Africa.

On his part the Minister of Water of the Federal Government of Ethiopia, Dr. Habtamu Itafa, who also spoke at the venue elaborated on the project further hence stated the benefits that would be reaped in due cause by the residents of the area.

He said, “Today we have come here as part of some IGAD countries for the development of underground water service, and we are running a large irrigation project in Togwajale which we want to benefit the communities of the two cities”.

He pointed out the IGAD member states had who had their water ministers in the launching of the project were those of Kenya, Uganda, Southern Sudan and Djibouti.

The Water Ministers of IGAD member countries representatives of UN Agencies and various development partners along with higher government officials visited Tog-Wochale water supply and sanitation project in Somali region of Ethiopia.

The water project under construction with a cost of over 490 million birr will benefit more than 56,000 residents in the area.

The visit includes multi-village drought-resistant drinking water project in Tog-Wochale town and joint infrastructural development activities in borderland community of Ethiopia.

The brief discussion was also held with residents of borderland community in the town as part of the visit.

On Tuesday, the ministers along with UN officials launched ground water access facility (GaFa) initiative and visited various water projects in the region.

The new initiative aims at addressing the water scarcity affecting millions of people in the Horn of Africa.

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