AfDB Publication Examines Aid Effectiveness in Delivery of Water and Sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa

Aug 23, 2012

Water and sanitation have long been considered a basic human development need. More recently, with the launch of the UN Decade for Water and Sanitation in the 1990s, followed by the UN Decade for Action – ‘Water for Life’ (2005-2015), access to water and sanitation has been recognized as a basic human right.

The importance of the water supply and sanitation (WSS) sector is further underscored by its inclusion in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In light of heterogeneous performance in the water and sanitation sector by different countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), it is important to understand the factors that determine success or failure in order to improve the targeting of future interventions, including those funded by development aid, and to avoid repeating past errors.
With this in mind, the African Development Bank Group has published the book Development Aid and Access to Water and Sanitation in Sub-Saharan Africa, with support from the AfDB’s Multi-Donor Water Partnership Programme (MDWPP). The principal objective of the book is to compare country performance in the water and sanitation sector and to analyze how effectively the associated development aid was used. Specifically, this book addresses the following points: the current magnitude of WSS official development assistance (ODA) and how has it evolved over the past two decades; the effectiveness of countries in utilizing the disbursed WSS ODA; the performance of SSA countries in safe drinking water and sanitation service provision to their citizens; and the factors that explain the performance differences in WSS sector among SSA countries.
The book is organized into five chapters. The first chapter presents the general background, objectives and methodology of the book. The second chapter examines the relationship between development aid dedicated to policies and projects in the field of water and sanitation in SSA countries, with progress made in improving access using the Water and Sanitation Index of Development Effectiveness (WIDE) and other relevant indicators. Chapter 3 presents the results of four country case studies (Burkina Faso, Kenya, Madagascar and Uganda), and reveals more detailed insights beyond the general trends analyzed in Chapter 2. The fourth chapter presents views of expert and beneficiaries on key success factors or failures of the WSS sector and specific projects. Analysis is based on information collected through dedicated field missions, primarily consisting of interviews with key stakeholders in governments, water management authorities, and communities of beneficiaries. Finally, Chapter 5 synthesizes the insights obtained and spells out specific recommendations for enhancing the performance of WSS sector and development aid effectiveness.

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