World Water Day: Africans call for government action as water supply, sanitation challenges persist

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…Majority of Africans express dissatisfaction with government efforts, according to Afrobarometer

By Ere-ebi Agedah

In the wake of World Water Day, a comprehensive study conducted by Afrobarometer, a reputable pan-African survey research network, underscores the persistent challenges faced by Africans regarding water supply and sanitation services. The latest Afrobarometer Pan-Africa Profile reveals that a significant portion of Africans deem their governments ineffective in addressing these crucial needs.

Based on 53,444 face-to-face interviews across 39 African countries, the findings illuminate the enduring struggle with water supply and sanitation, particularly among rural communities and impoverished households. Water supply ranks as the fourth most urgent issue demanding government attention, following unemployment, economic management, and health concerns.

In a statement by Maame Akua Twum, Communications Coordinator for North and Anglophone West Africa, Afrobarometer, here are the Key findings according to the report, in government Performance, a substantial majority, 61% of citizens across the surveyed nations express dissatisfaction with their government’s handling of water and sanitation services, with only 38% offering positive assessments.

On Water Shortages, Nearly six in ten Africans, 56% report experiencing shortages of clean water in their households over the previous year, with 24% encountering frequent shortages, especially prevalent in rural areas.

Also, Water supply ranks prominently among citizens’ top concerns, surpassing various other pressing issues in several countries, indicating its critical importance in national agendas.

Furthermore, in Sanitation Infrastructure, alarmingly, only one-third of surveyed enumeration areas had sewage systems, highlighting vast disparities in sanitation infrastructure across different countries.

While a significant portion of respondents have access to toilets within their homes or compounds, a considerable proportion still rely on facilities outside their compound or lack access entirely.
Afrobarometer surveys serve as vital tools in understanding African perspectives on democracy, governance, and quality of life. Conducted by national partners, these face-to-face interviews provide reliable data, facilitating informed policy decisions.

As the continent commemorates World Water Day, the Afrobarometer findings underscore the urgent need for concerted action from governments and stakeholders to address the persistent challenges in water supply and sanitation, ensuring equitable access for all citizens across Africa.