Building a Brighter Tomorrow in WASH Angola – A Presentation by James Manning

With a focus on the drinking water and sanitation in Angola, James’s presentation focuses on how the growing nation is situated in WASH. Angola has been in civil war from 1975 to 2002 which created 1.5 million dead and 4 million displaced. Because of this, Angola lacks infrastructures in rural and peri-urban areas. Government has little authorities in these areas and must go through local leaders or Sobas. In Urban areas, 1 in 4 people live in the capital city of Luanda and 68% live below poverty line with 94% in peri-urban and rural area below poverty. There is also a gender inequality which is a result of the civil war and refugee camps. There is a lack of women in leadership positions. Only 3 of the 27 ministers in Angola are women.Current water problems in the country are:

–          Chronic water shortages especially in the more aid regions of the southwest

–          Water supplies in refugee camps come from streams, ponds, rivers, or bore holes without treatment

–          Constant upkeep of borehole pumping equipment is required

–          Government has been planning new dams

–          Sewerage treatment is nearly non-existing outside of Luanda (17% of Angola has sewerage treatment)

–          Water and sanitation infrastructure are poor

There was a lack of rural area focus after the civil war as most focus was on urban and agriculture or “larger problems”. There are various programs to help solve this lack of focus in rural areas. Programs such as free standposts water which is provided by the water authority for rural areas as a source of drinking water. The National Water Law in 2002 though inadequate started a development which resulted in the 2003 Strategy for Water Sector Development, 2004 Water Sector Development Program, and the 2007 Secretary of State for Water Affairs position in the government. These programs are made to help Angola meet the Millennium Development Goal in WASH.

Public and Private Utilities in the country under a decentralized perspective are making the service quite slow in areas with little population or lack of interest. The target goal by 2015 is to provide 59% of rural individuals with proper sanitation and 81% in urban areas. The Water for All Program in 2008 was started with the goal of covering 80% of individuals at a cost of $650 million. However, the projected cost for rural area coverage would cost double that. Estimation shows that in 2008, only 45% of the allocated budget actually was spent on WASH projects.

International private companies have entered into the WASH field in Angola, but the national government believe that water should be free and have not made a move for privatization of the industry. Collaborations between countries are one outside funding that Angola receives. For example, a collaboration between China and Angola has successfully connected 100,000 individuals with proper drinking water and sanitation. Non-profits banks such as World Bank and the African Development Bank are slowly entering the field to help Angola develop its WASH programs.

In conclusion, James points that there has been some stride in WASH programs in not only urban areas but also peri-urban and rural areas. In 2011, cases of cholera decreased to 2,000 (from 67,000 in 2006). The general public has an optimist view in the government on WASH. Programs such as the Luanda Urban Poverty Program has offered individuals with better drinking water and sanitation at an affordable price. This water rate allow the local government as well as the national government to setup bank accounts and set aside these money for funding more WASH programs. James ended his presentation with some recommendations:

– improve water management to improve water access, sanitation, and hygiene with better transparency

– Encourage women’s participation in decision making and to support efforts to strengthen women’s rights

– provide significant allocations to support WASH

– Documentation and proper programs must be setup with enforceable laws.

James Manning is a First year Master of Environmental Studies Major at University of Pennsylvania.

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About t5huang

Masters in Environmental Science at UPenn Candidate
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