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Successes and Failures of Water and Sanitation Governance Choices in Sub-Saharan Africa (1990-2017)


  • Antonio Estache


Based on a survey of evidence on progress and of analytical diagnostics from various angles, the paper argues that, under current management and reform strategies, the SSA countries still lagging in coverage are unlikely to reach the universal water access and adequate sanitation targets promised by the Sustainable Development Goals set in 2016. This is not just about more, it is also about faster and better. And it is not only by the countries themselves, but it needs to imply all stakeholders in a coordinated way. There are three main explanations. The first is that, despite all the bells and whistles on achievements, financing constraints continue to be quite binding. Second, many of the local and international stakeholders continue to be slow at internalizing the lessons from the strategic mistakes in reform and technology choices and, in particular, in their implementation. And third, the current handling of the fast and accelerating urbanization process in the region, combined with an high population growth, is having unplanned and unmanaged perverse effects on the level and nature of the demand for service. Change has been coming and continues to come. But it is too slow and too unfocused to help fast enough the poorest who continue to be excluded from the benefits of improvements in the sector.

Suggested Citation

  • Antonio Estache, 2017. "Successes and Failures of Water and Sanitation Governance Choices in Sub-Saharan Africa (1990-2017)," Working Papers ECARES ECARES 2017-32, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  • Handle: RePEc:eca:wpaper:2013/257913

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