n Africa Insight - A review of Africa's performance on sustainable development from safe drinking water, improved sanitation and secure tenure perspectives

Volume 37, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


This article makes a case for the recognition and inclusion of environmental sustainability as an integral part and critical pillar of sustainable development in Africa. Three key indicators, namely safe drinking water, improved sanitation and secure tenure are selected for investigation and used to assess country performance. Data for the study were procured from the United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs (UN DESA) for the 53 African countries for the period 1990 to 2005. Findings show that only 8 of the 53 African countries meet developed regional standards with respect to access to clean water, 13 meet Africa's average standards while 42 are below the African standard. Five countries have met developed regions' standard of access to good sanitation, nine are within African average levels while thirty-nine fall below Africa's average. With regard to slum dwellers, the results show that for Africa to achieve sustainable development through the reduction of the number of slum dwellers, it would significantly improve the lives of 17 million slum dwellers by 2020. If the 1990 levels are used as a basis, this would translate into a reduction of the current population of 122.7 million slum dwellers by 17 million to 105.7 million or fewer by 2020. Between the North and sub-Saharan African sub-regions, it is found that the former has better environmental quality conditions, while the latter characteristically falls below its North African and North America and Caribbean counterparts.

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