Proportion Of African Population Using Safely Managed Drinking Water Services Improves Marginally

By Wallace Mawire in Niamey,Niger

A summary of the report on African progress towards achieving the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063: The Africa We Want, of the African Union focusing on clean water and sanitation presented at the Economic Commission for Africa Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development ninth session held in Niamey,Niger on 28 February to 2 March, 2022 has revealed that excluding North Africa, the proportion of the African population using safely managed drinking water services has improved only marginally since 2013, with reversals in some countries.

This is the outcome of a report presented following a High-level  political forum on sustainable development and the Sustainable Development Goals Summit with  priorities to address multiple crises and to  accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063 under the theme: The Africa We Want, of the African Union.

The report notes that the proportion of the sub-Saharan African population using safely managed drinking water sources increased from 25% in 2013 to 30% in 2020.

“This is still substantially below the global average, which stood at 74% in 2020. By contrast, the corresponding figure of 78% for North Africa is well above the global average. Algeria, the Central African Republic and Zimbabwe have regressed on this indicator. Consequently, the continent is unlikely to achieve the related target of Agenda 2063 of reducing the proportion of the population without access to safe drinking water from its 2013 level by 95% by 2023,” the report says.

It says that compared with the rest of Africa, North African countries are at high risk of water stress.

It is added that water stress levels in North Africa reached 120.5% in 2019, indicating a high probability of future water scarcity.

The report notes that excessive water use can lead to the depletion and degradation of both surface and groundwater resources, compromising livelihoods and development opportunities for future generations.

It is added that among the North African countries, Morocco has relatively sustainable withdrawals of freshwater, while Libya has the highest water stress levels.

The report says that with the exception of South Africa, water stress levels in most sub-Saharan countries are below the world average, 32% in 2019.

It is also added that official development assistance (ODA) to support water  and sanitation related programmes has stagnated at between $2.5 billion and $3 billion since 2013.

Among the African subregions, East Africa is reported to have received a relatively higher proportion of water- and sanitation-related ODA, followed by West Africa, while Southern Africa and Central Africa received a smaller proportion.

The report says that  In 2020, ODA for water and sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa dropped below the 2015 level of $2.5 billion.

It is added that in general, the progress made towards achieving clean water and sanitation targets has been inadequate.

“ It is crucial to appropriately manage competing demands for water resources and enhance water-use efficiency, such as through reuse and recycling, and ecosystem protection. Overall, progress on indicators 6.2.1, 6.4.1, 6.6.1, 6.a.1 and 6.b.1 needs to be accelerated, while the negative trend in water stress levels (indicator 6.4.2) must be reversed, in particular in North Africa,” the report says.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 focuses on  Ensuring  availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.


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