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Ebbing Water, Surging Deficits: Urban Water Supply in Sub-Saharan Africa

WORLD BANK - Sudeshna Banerjee, Heather Skilling, Vivien Foster, Cecilia Briceño-Garmendia, Elvira Morella, and Tarik Chfadi

Published in June 2008, this study is part of the Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic (AICD), a project designed to expand the world’s knowledge of physical infrastructure in Africa. AICD will provide a baseline against which future improvements in infrastructure services can be measured, making it possible to monitor the results achieved from donor support. It should also provide a more solid empirical foundation for prioritizing investments and designing policy reforms in the infrastructure sectors in Africa.

Monitoring the progress of infrastructure sectors such as water supply has been a significant byproduct of the MDGs, and serious attention and funding have been devoted in recent years to developing systems for monitoring and evaluating in developing countries. Thanks to the efforts of the WHOUNICEF Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) on water supply and sanitation (WSS), access trends are now comparatively well understood. However, there is still relatively little understanding of how African water utilities actually perform, and the state of the reform process in the sector. This study draws on a new WSS database compiled as part of the Africa Infrastructure Country Diagnostic. The database collects primary data on institutional development and sector performance in 50 utilities across 23 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. We use it here to present a snapshot of the current situation.

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