The African Union (AU) has developed The Africa Water Vision for 2025: Equitable and Sustainable Use of Water for Socioeconomic Development, a comprehensive vision for water use to address natural and human threats from a broad scope of areas, that includes competing demands for basic water supply, sanitation, food security, economic development, and environmental threats such as variability in climate and rainfall, climate change, and desertification. The complexity of human threats is daunting; it includes:
- “Inappropriate governance and institutional arrangements in managing national and transactional water basins;
- Depletion of water resources through pollution, environmental degradation, and deforestation;
- Failure to invest adequately in resource assessment, protection and development;
- Unsustainable financing of investments in water supply and sanitation.”
While the AU does not yet have an overall policy model to address African water quality and sanitation challenges, they have made important first steps with the Africa Water Vision for 2025 and the recruitment of an Africa Water and Sanitation Policy Officer. Additionally, the Africa Sanitation Policy Guidelines (ASPG), led by the African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW), provide African governments with the guidance necessary for developing sanitation policy. The usage of ASPG by local governments serves as a basis for developing larger scale national sanitation policy and programs. The ASPG are ambitious, aiming to catalyze reforms needed to realize access to safely managed sanitation for all by 2030. AMCOW has also developed a Pan-African Water and Sanitation Sector Monitoring and Reporting System. With the complexity and diversity of the African water and sanitation challenges, these efforts by AMCOW, in addition to the AU vision, are fundamental to providing universal access to safe water and sanitation for all Africans.