20 February 2013. by Alex Weber
Kigali: Rwanda has become an African leader when it comes to providing its citizens access to safe sanitation, but its progress could stall if funding is not increased, a report by the international development charity Water Aid has found.
Released on Wednesday, the report “Keeping Promises: Why African leaders need now to deliver on their past water and sanitation commitments,” applauded Rwanda for its efforts in improving water and sanitation quality throughout the country, but warned that increased government spending is needed if the country is to keep on track with meeting its Millennium Development Goals.
A survey conducted by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) found that 1.4 Rwandans over the age of 16 gained access to safe sanitation over the past five years. Access levels increased from 58.5% in 2005/2006 to 74.5% in 2010/2011, the survey found.
It’s progress means Rwanda has a unique opportunity to demonstrate to other African governments the success that can come from strong government commitment, targeted investment and collaboration with development partners.
However, the WaterAid report discovered a funding gap of $83 million, money that must be invested in sanitation if the Rwandan government is to meet its water and sanitation goals by 2017.
“Rwanda has made historic progress in increasing access to sanitation and WaterAid is proud to work alongside a government that has shown real political leadership in this area,” said Nshuti Rugerinyange, Water Aid Rwanda’s team leader.
“While we are 100% behind the Government’s drive to reach every Rwandan with safe sanitation by 2017, we feel that spending commitments, particularly, the 2008 eThekwini target of spending 0.5% on sanitation, is a crucial milestone if we are to meet the goal of universal access.”
In 2008, Rwanda, along with other African Union members pledged to increase spending on sanitation and hygiene to 0.5% of its GDP. Between 2008 and 2010, the report states Rwanda spent 0.65% of its GDP on water and sanitation.
In order to remain an example to its African neighbors the report recommends Rwanda its eThekwini target by aiming to spend 1% of GDP on sanitation and hygiene in order to align itself with the 2011 World Bank recommendations.