AFRICA: In 2022, 418 million people will still be living without drinking water

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AFRICA: In 2022, 418 million people will still be living without drinking water©Oni Abimbola/Shutterstock

Africa has made very little progress in terms of access to water, sanitation and basic hygiene. According to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), which is participating in the 9th World Water Forum, this situation now threatens the peace and development of states.

The appeal launched on March 22, 2022 by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is a cry from the heart. Africa is threatened on all sides by its low rate of access to water, sanitation and basic hygiene services. In addition to peace, the continent’s economic and social development is at stake. “On average, 418 million of Africa’s 1.3 billion people still do not have access to even basic drinking water, 779 million people do not have access to basic sanitation (including 208 million who still practice open defecation) and 839 million people do not have access to basic hygiene,” says UNICEF.

Read also – AFRICA: Water and sanitation security today, a necessity!

This finding is documented in a report by the Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene, developed in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO). There are several reasons for the water and sanitation crisis. They range from the unequal distribution of resources, to the lack of infrastructure and financing, to climate change, which now defies all predictions.

What measures should be taken to achieve MDG 6?

Acting more seriously and effectively, this is the recommendation of UNICEF to hope to achieve the 6th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG6) which calls for universal access to water and sanitation by 2030 in Africa. Also, “it will be necessary to multiply by 12 the current rates of progress in safely managed drinking water, by 20 for safely managed sanitation and by 42 for basic hygiene services,” says the international organization in its recent report. Between 2000 and 2020, just 500 million people had access to basic drinking water and 290 million to basic sanitation services on the continent.

By choosing the platform of the World Water Forum 2022 to sound the alarm on the urgency of securing water and sanitation in Africa, UNICEF and WHO hope to reach out to the entire water community, especially decision-makers in order to find urgent solutions according to the specific needs of each state.

Inès Magoum


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