Sub-Saharan Africa is rich in natural resources and its increased economic momentum is well documented. In many parts of the region, however, a number of urgent issues still need to be addressed. One in every eight of the region's children fail to live beyond the age of five, and far too many communities suffer from high incidences of diarrhea and other illnesses related to the lack of clean water. Improving sanitation and access to clean water is therefore one of the region's most pressing needs.
In July 2013, the UN General Assembly designated November 19 as "World Toilet Day", in a bid to enhance global water management and improve public sanitation. The Assembly urged UN member states to support efforts aimed at bringing about behavioral change, securing safe drinking water, ensuring that all citizens have access to toilets, and educating children about proper hygiene. As one of the world's largest consumers of water, Japan's responsibility to help deal with these issues is certain to increase in the years ahead.
A number of support organizations are working to address these and other issues in Africa, including environmental protection, poverty alleviation, and improving water supply. Towards this end, the Mitsubishi Corporation Fund for Europe and Africa (MCFEA) has developed partnerships with many of these organizations, including the provision of financial assistance. For example, in Mozambique, MC has supported the efforts of "WaterAid", an international NGO dedicated to providing safe drinking water and toilets, and educating people about sanitation. In this way, we are helping communities in Africa to gain access to clean water, thereby making a contribution to improving their health and quality of life.
Article appeared in Asahi Shimbun's "GLOBE" feature of October 20, 2013