Africa’s river run to 2030: Making universal access to water and sanitation a reality

18 Jul 2016

At the opening of the 6th Africa Water Week, WaterAid has called for an ambitious roadmap to reach everyone everywhere in Africa with safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

This plan must address the underlying causes of inequality in access, ensure sustainability of services for the security and welfare of the poorest and most marginalised, and undertake an integrated approach in making water, sanitation and hygiene the drivers of economic growth and development. A failure to meet Goal 6 means failure of all 17 Global Goals.

The African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW) under the auspices of the African Union convenes the 6th Africa Water Week (AWW-6) this week 18-22 July 18th 2016, hosted by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania, in the capital Dar es Salaam. The theme of the conference is “Achieving the SDGs on water security and sanitation”.

WaterAid welcomes the draft roadmap to be discussed which will serve as the framework for implementation of Africa’s water security and sanitation agenda by 2030.

While there was progress in achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals, the targets for water and sanitation were not met. Statistics show that 695 million people out of the 1.2 billion total population of Africa are surviving without basic sanitation and 395 million people are without clean water. With Africa’s population projected to be 2.2 billion by 2030, only 32% of Sub-Saharan Africans will have access to sanitation by 2030.

According to monitoring by UNICEF and the WHO, schoolchildren and communities in Africa continue to suffer disease outbreaks such as cholera due to poor sanitation and open defecation. Some 6 out of 10 schools lack basic water and sanitation and 42% of health facilities in Sub-Saharan Africa operate without an improved water source; some 319 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa are without clean water and 695 million are without good sanitation.

Dr Ibrahim Kabole, Country Representative for WaterAid Tanzania, said:

“In Tanzania alone, about 23 million people are barely surviving without access to adequate and clean water. It is disheartening that our women and girls waste productive time and put their lives at risk of injury and violence walking long distances to find clean water for their families.”

WaterAid’s 2016 report on the State of the World’s Water reveals that a person in Sub-Saharan Africa reliant on a tanker truck for their water supply may spend up to 45% of their daily income to get just the recommended daily minimum supply of water, compared to 0.1% of the income of a person earning minimum wage in a developed country.

It is time to change the rhetoric.

WaterAid is calling upon Governments of Africa to consider specific key elements of equality, sustainability and integration in the roadmap for Africa towards 2030, if they are to achieve Goal 6 on universal access to water and sanitation.

African Governments must work to bring to reality the targets of SDG6 for their citizens leaving no one behind, cognisant of the fact that as member states of the UN they will be held accountable under the auspices of the High Level Political Forum (HLPF).

WaterAid believes that the outcomes of the AWW6 will be the launchpad for achieving the Africa’s Vision 2063, of optimising the use of Africa’s resources for the benefit of all Africans.

The AWW6 is Africa’s opportunity to take-off on the run to 2030 towards a world where Africa’s people will be lifted out of poverty and will enjoy healthy and wealthy lives for generations to come.


For more information or to arrange interviews please contact Naomi Kabarungi, Communications Coordinator, WaterAid on [email protected] or tel +255 688 997092.

Notes to editors:

About WaterAid

WaterAid’s vision is of a world where everyone has access to safe water and sanitation.  The international organisation works in 37 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific Region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities.  Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 23 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 21 million people with sanitation.  For more information, visit, follow @wateraid or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or visit us on Facebook.

  • Around 315,000 children die each year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. That’s nearly 900 children each day, or one child every two minutes.
  • Over 650 million people (around one in ten) are without safe water
  • Over 2.3 billion people (around one in three) live without improved sanitation
  • For every £1 invested in water and sanitation, an average of £4 is returned in increased productivity.
  • Just £15 can help provide one person with access to safe water.
  • For details on how individual countries are keeping their promises on water and sanitation, please see our online database,