More than 300 million people in Africa have no access to safe drinking water, and are therefore exposed to all sorts of water-born diseases by drinking unsafe water. This emerged last week at the African Forum for Water and Sanitation held last week in the Senegalese capital city Dakar.
Many observers believe these shocking figures reinforce not only the notion that many African countries will not reach the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015, but also demonstrate African politicians’ incapability to move fast and forward on service delivery more than half a century after Africa’s dawn of independences from European colonial masters.
“It’s time to act, and we must first count on our own efforts and resources,” Liberia Vice-President Joseph Boaki told the forum, perhaps referring to a number of African countries that always pin their hopes on the developed world to get things done in their countries.
The forum was a platform for politicians, academics, NGOs and researchers to look for ways of speeding service delivery in Africa, especially in the sector of water and sanitation.
“We must exchange experiences and resources in order to come up with strategies that could help Africa be present at the encounter of stock-takings,” Idrissa Doucouré, secretary-general of EAA, the African agency for water and sanitation, said, undoubtedly referring to the three mere years left for the bell of MDGs to ring.
While sub-Saharan African countries such as Senegal and South Africa have been seen to have made progress on water supply coverage, many countries, such as DR Congo, Angola and Central African Republic, are still far behind, both on urban and rural coverage.
The world is on track to meet the MDGs of cutting in half the number of people without access to clean water by 2015, but progress in uneven, the World Bank said, adding that most of the improvements are in China and India, with Sub-Saharan Africa lagging.
*PIC: AFRICA WATER BANK