Inadequate Access, Poor Government Performance make Water a Top Priority in Africa

"According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 748 million people do not have access to improved drinking water, including 325 million in sub-Saharan Africa. About 2.5 billion people live without improved sanitation (WHO, 2014). These are costly shortcomings, whether measured in the 2 million lives lost each year to diarrheal diseases or the 140 million hours that women and child devote every day to collecting water instead of to other work or education. Between a child’s unwashed hands and threats to global economic growth, the effects of inadequate water and sanitation ripple through human health and community development to sustainable agriculture, energy, and industry. Progress has been substantial; worldwide, the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing by half the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water was met in 2010. But in sub-Saharan Africa, most countries are not on track to meet the MDG target, and Africans make up two of every five people without access to an improved drinking water source."