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Water and Sanitation Report Highlights Leadership Opportunities for African Countries

World Bank22 August 2011: The World Sanitation Program (WSP) at the World Bank has issued a report titled "Pathways to Progress: Transitioning to Country-Led Service Delivery Pathways to Meet Africa's Water Supply and Sanitation Targets." The report finds that African countries willing to take a leadership role in providing safe water and sanitation services to those without access could drastically reduce the number of those without access by 2015.

The report, which was commissioned by the African Ministers' Council on Water (AMCOW), is a collection of 32 country status overview reports and a regional synthesis report. It concludes that for African countries' water target to be met, 42 million people would need to gain access to safe water, and that accelerating progress toward this and the sanitation goal would require an additional US$6 billion per year.

The report finds that improved economic growth, debt relief and increasing political stability have created opportunities for African countries to take the lead in providing fresh water and adequate sanitation, as well as establishing sustainable service delivery pathways. Countries with effective water and sanitation delivery, the report notes, have "robust service delivery pathways" and use their country systems and institutions effectively to ensure that funding is used to allow higher numbers of the population to access services.

The report identifies several opportunities to accelerate progress toward the transition to country-led service, including: using all available capacity from all sectors of society to implement and sustain services and service delivery; and harmonizing and aligning aid flows with domestic and other sources of finance to be distributed through country systems and institutions. [World Bank Press Release]