AD349: African governments failing in provision of water and sanitation, majority of citizens say

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Dispatches
2020
349
Brian Howard and Kangwook Han

More than half of Africans say their governments are failing them when it comes to one of their top priorities – the provision of clean water and sanitation services, a new Afrobarometer analysis shows. Half of survey respondents say they went without enough clean water for home use during the previous year – a particular concern considering the importance of proper hygiene for preventing the spread of coronavirus and other infectious diseases.

These findings from national surveys in 34 African countries, released in advance of World Water Day (March 22), show that there has been little progress in recent years toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No. 6, “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”

While experiences vary widely across countries, on average more than half of Africans have to leave their compounds to access water, and only one-fourth have access to sewage infrastructure. Rural residents continue to suffer major disadvantages in access to water and sanitation.

One in five Africans who tried to obtain utility services from government during the previous year report they had to pay a bribe. In 20 out of 34 countries, majorities say their government is doing a poor job of providing water and sanitation services.