Sanitation and Wastewater Atlas of Africa Profiles, Tracks WASH Services Provision

9 Feb 2021 by The Water Diplomat

A comprehensive "atlas" profiling and mapping the state and trends in wastewater management and sanitation delivery across every African nation promises to provide policymakers with the information they need to track progress in an area vital to human health, economies and the environment.

Produced jointly by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and non-profit environmental communications centre GRID-Arendal, the 284-page "Sanitation and Wastewater Atlas of Africa" incorporates maps, graphics and country profiles with analyses of their water resources and provision of basic services.

69 Percent of Africa's population do not have access to basic sanitation, with more than half the population in 34 out of 38 sub-Saharan nations lacking access to basic handwashing facilities.

“Africa cannot have a healthy society without adequate access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene,” said Wambui Gichuri, the African Development Bank’s Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development. Pointing out that the AfDB has already invested more than $6 Billion USD in sanitation and hygiene improvements, he stressed the need for much more private, public and institutional investment, adding: “The new Sanitation and Wastewater Atlas of Africa can inform strategic investment going forward.”

The atlas benchmarks Africa’s progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (primarily SDG 6) and other aspirations, including Africa’s Agenda 2063 and Africa’s Water Vision 2025. It profiles the state and trends in wastewater management and sanitation delivery in Africa; highlights the human health and ecosystem impacts of poor sanitation and wastewater management; and discusses the continent’s policy and institutional arrangements.

Four years in the making, the detailed facts, figures and analyses contained in the atlas cover wastewater streams, ecosystems, human health, policy and institutional frameworks and the circular economy, and recommends investment in the policies, infrastructure and skills necessary to achieve the goals and targets set out in the 2030 Agenda.

“As the world seeks to recover better after COVID-19, prioritising wastewater and sanitation infrastructure in Africa is critical. Sustainable Development Goal 6 is within reach by 2030 if we commit the needed resources. The Sanitation and Wastewater Atlas of Africa provides the tools for policymakers to focus on this important challenge,” said Leticia Carvalho, Head of UNEP’s Marine and Freshwater Branch.