Use public money to fund Africa’s water and sewerage systems. Mail & Guardian Africa, October 25, 2016.
Developed countries used government revenue rather than private funds to build infrastructure, so why not Africa?
African stakeholders have called for water supply and sanitation to be a priority at the next meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. They want the November meeting of COP22 to integrate issues related to water supply and sanitation with the climate change agenda.
Some progress has been made on water and sanitation in the past 20 years. Under the millennium development goals, rates of access in sub-Saharan Africa increased by 20% for drinking water and 6% for sanitation between 1990 and 2015.
But far more needs to be done. Population growth means the number of people without access to drinking water increased from 265-million in 1990 to 316-million in 2015 and those without safe sanitation from 388-million to 692-million.
The sector is in dire need of extensive investment. Estimates vary slightly but, to achieve the millennium development goal targets, Africa would have to spend about $15-billion annually; current spending is about $3.6-billion.
To close the gap, there is support for greater private investment in water in developing countries. But the reality is that the financing gap in Africa can only be addressed viably and equitably with a major increase in public investment.
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