In recent years, African leaders have gathered together to promote initiatives that can manage, protect, and distribute water resources on the African continent more equitably. In accordance with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) adopted by the United Nations in 2015, especially SDG 6 (require universal access to water services), institutions such as the African Development Bank (AFDB) and the African Union (AU) have Dams, irrigation systems, pipelines, and sewage treatment plants to increase access to water services for all Africans. These include AFDB’s 2025 Africa Water Resources Vision, and the African Continental Water Resources Investment Plan adopted by the African Union in February 2021. These initiatives have a common goal: to support economic growth and development on the African continent. These African-led strategies complement existing international projects, such as the US government’s global waters strategy and Germany’s growth.
Over the past few years, these projects have supported research and capacity building in Africa, leading to diversified water supply sources, higher water quality standards, and more efficient irrigation techniques. Despite these efforts, limited access to water and sanitation services remains a serious obstacle to the economic and social development of the entire African continent. More than 300 million Africans do not have access to clean water services, and 700 million do not have access to decent sanitation facilities. If more investment is not made in the next few years to support regional initiatives to meet these challenges—especially in rural communities that accommodate most of the growing population—the situation will only get worse. Due to lack of water, about 5% of Africa’s GDP is lost every year. Key sectors such as agriculture and mining, which employ millions of people, have been severely affected by the drought.
How to fight water scarcity
In order to reverse the trend of these problems, effective domestic institutions in African countries are essential. A policy structure around solid and representative institutions will strengthen local support for policies that change the way water resources are allocated. For example, although institutional arrangements to promote public-private partnerships (PPP) have been introduced across the African continent (partly to help recover the cost of building water infrastructure in urban centers), they hardly take into account the local problems faced by many communities. These include high levels of inequality, poor maintenance of existing infrastructure, and growing urban populations. Therefore, it is very important to increase the organization’s sensitivity to local demand-for example, when setting prices for water services. If you consider its resources as a whole, Africa itself is not short of water. The African continent has more than 62 transboundary rivers, accounting for 64% of its total land area.
The Nile is the longest river on the African continent and the second longest river in the world. It connects the economic and social future of eleven coastal countries (Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda), South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania ,Uganda). Other major watersheds include Congo, Zambezi, Okavango, Limpopo, Volta, Niger, Senegal, Orange, Komati and Gambia, as well as the watersheds of Lake Victoria and Chad, which together provide water for millions of Africans . However, the difficult economic conditions experienced by most countries make it challenging and costly for governments to use these resources and promote inter- and intra-basin water transfer arrangements from water-rich areas to water-scarce areas. The optimal distribution and management of surface water and groundwater sources requires continuous financial investment.
with information from: https://www.thecairoreview.com/essays/a-new-water-paradigm-for-sub-saharan-africa/