The State of WASH Financing in Eastern and Southern Africa

A comparative picture of WASH financing issues in the region


Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) is the region with the lowest percentage of households with coverage to at least basic water of all regions and also lags behind basic sanitation coverage. To improve the current situation, this report looks at institutional structures, funding sources (including from governments, donors and households), funding channels, and the quality and equity of funding to the sector. It builds on four deep-dive country assessments carried out in Burundi, Eswatini, Uganda and Zimbabwe, which, taken together, aim to influence planning, budgeting and advocacy toward greater and more effective allocation of resources for WASH.

One of the key findings is the massive funding gaps facing WASH. Around US$15 billion of new financing is required every year until 2030 to achieve the WASH-related SDGs in ESA, with half of those resources needed in Ethiopia and Kenya. Another important takeaway is the persistence of severe equity and distribution issues, notably the scant investment attention given to rural areas or to support the operations and maintenance of existing WASH systems.

In all countries, UNICEF can play a pivotal role. This includes: (i) monitoring the amount and use of resources going into the WASH sector from all funding sources; (ii) maximizing the impact of those resources, especially toward rural areas and to support uninterrupted access to existing services; (iii) helping to mobilize additional resources through taxes, tariffs, transfers, concessional financing arrangements and investment guarantees; and (iv) supporting governments as they explore commercial finance approaches.

Report cover
Oliver Jones, Goufrane Mansour, and Peter Burr, Oxford Policy Management, in collaboration with Agua Consult and Blue Chain Consulting, Oxford, UK.
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