A new report on water, sanitation and health (WASH) sector financing in UNICEF’s Eastern and Southern Africa Region (ESAR) has identified massive funding gaps that will hinder achievement of WASH Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the region.
In comparison to other parts of the world, ESAR has the lowest percentage of households with access to at least basic water services but also lags behind in basic sanitation coverage, according to "The State of WASH financing in Eastern and Southern Africa".
In some detail, recent country reports from Burundi, eSwatini, Uganda and Zimbabwe provide an assessment of sources of WASH sector financing: how the finance is provided by various institutions, and quantity and equity distribution of the finance, and options to achieve future sector goals.
There are massive funding gaps facing the WASH sector in ESAR. In particular, approximately $15 Billion USD of new financing is required every year until 2030 to achieve the WASH-related SDGs. Half of those resources are needed in Ethiopia and Kenya. There are also issues of severe equity and distribution: scant investment in rural areas and in support of operations and maintenance of existing systems.
UNICEF describes its own important role including: (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 operational budgets; (iii) helping to mobilize additional resources through taxes, tariffs, transfers, concessional finance and investment guarantees; and (iv) supporting governments as they explore commercial finance approaches.