25 April 2016

Africans Expect Governments to Do a Better Job of Ensuring Safe Water and Sanitation, Survey Finds

press release

Accra — Almost half of Africans go without enough clean water for home use, and a majority have to leave their compounds in order to access water, according to new findings from Afrobarometer.

The survey findings give voice to citizens who call on their governments to do a better job of ensuring access to water and sanitation. Public ratings of government performance in providing water and sanitation services have worsened over the past decade: A majority say their government is doing "fairly" or "very" badly.

The new report, titled "Lack of safe water, sanitation spurs growing dissatisfaction with government performance," is based on nearly 54,000 interviews in 36 African countries in 2014/2015, It is available in English and French at www.afrobarometer.org.

Key findings:

Across 36 countries, almost half (45%) of respondents say they went without enough clean water at least once during the previous year. One in five (19%) did so "many times" or "always."

* A majority of Africans (51%) can only access water outside of their compound.

* More than one-third (36%) of surveyed communities have no infrastructure for piped water. More than two-thirds (68%) lack sewerage infrastructure.

* One in five citizens (20%) have to leave their compound to use a latrine, and almost one in 10 (8%) have no access at all to a latrine or toilet, even outside their compound.

* Rural residents have far less access to water and sanitation than their urban counterparts. North Africa outperforms other regions, while East Africa lags behind.

* Water supply ranks fifth among important problems that citizens say their governments must address. In Burkina Faso, Guinea, and Niger, it's problem No. 1.

* A majority (55%) of African citizens rate their government's handling of water supply as "fairly bad" or "very bad." Across 18 countries tracked since 2005/2006, negative ratings have increased by 14 percentage points.


Afrobarometer is a pan-African, non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on democracy, governance, economic conditions, and related issues across more than 30 countries in Africa. Five rounds of surveys were conducted between 1999 and 2013, and findings from Round 6 surveys (2014/2015) are currently being released. Afrobarometer conducts face-to-face interviews in the language of the respondent's choice with nationally representative samples that yield country-level results with margins of error of +/-2% (for samples of 2,400) or +/3% (for samples of 1,200) at a 95% confidence level.

Interested readers should check www.afrobarometer.org for previous and upcoming Afrobarometer releases.

See Facebook and Twitter @Afrobarometer.

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