Access to Drinking Water in Africa

By Atilla Cermikli – Art in Tanzania internship

According to a report in 2018, nearly half of the population in East Africa could not access drinking water and Tanzania caught the average with 49.2% accessible rate.

The main problem is basically investment. Installing the pipe to transport the water needs large investments and since it does not seem profitable by the investors, governments step into funding to cover expenses through supplying bonds. Nevertheless, most of the countries in Africa could not find enough amount of financing. For instance, one report in 2014 indicates that Tanzania has less than 50% of the funds needed to meet Millennium Development Goals (MDG) requirements but have a high-level capacity for investment and it makes Tanzania one of the most applicable countries in Africa.

The latest Glaas report shows that Tanzania is located in the most aided region and got 316 million USD financial aids in 2017, ranked 3rd in Sub-Saharan Africa. Also, Tanzania prepared its financial plans and these financial plans consistently using in the decision-making process. Furthermore, the country has the data for decision-making such as resource allocation, sector review and/or planning processes, national standard or regulation development, targeting surveillance activities both in water-sanitation and drinking water areas.

To reach the national goal Tanzania needs a budget of 237 million USD dollar annually and government finance 154.2 million USD which means Tanzania needs to increase its funding approximately by 35%. Financing of the investments for drinking water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) are met between 50%-75%. Tanzania also pursuing regulations and standards in order to attract investors such as on-site sanitation and drinking water standards, audited by the governmental bodies and also by independent observers. Although a sufficient budget is clearly indicated in the plan the government could only bear the implementation expenses between 50%-75% due to lack of foreign-domestic private investments.

Another problem is in the human resources sector. Because of the lack of education in maintenance, designing and construction Tanzania has only between 50%-75% of needed human resources.

Related to water sector development plan for 2018, the approved budget is 319.5 million USD and 42% of the shares are funded by foreigners while 58% of the shares belong to local funders.

           As explained by the numerical data above, Tanzania has to foster investments in every area of the water supply and sanitation such as maintenance, protection of the water resources, management and development.

           The type of investment might be diversified. For instance between 2018-2020, a project led by Water and Development Alliance (WADA) and its key partners in order to provide safe water access through solar power systems.

To sum up, Tanzania is getting more and more attention by years but still, the country struggles with investments and educated human resources and government seems to be the only investor but it is not enough to bear all the expenses. Although Tanzania published guidelines in WASH investment plans, due to lack of profitability it does not attract private investments. USAID defines the reason, while the legal framework is well-defined implementation is not effective at all. Also, investment should be focused on sanitation as well as a water supply but research shows that it is biased in favour of water supply. So it is important to invest in water sanitation since it has added value potential. Performance-based investment plans would run to expand sanitation services. Another reason could be collaboration intention of public agencies with private sector investments. The government enjoys from private sector contemporary technologies and provide technology transfer. Due to lack of integration of water sanitation with healthcare, nutrition and food security investments were not fully effective. For example, water sanitation ameliorates food security so it helps to reach Tanzania Development Vision 2025.

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