Eighteen African countries lose around US$5.5 billion annually due to poor sanitation, with yearly economic losses of between one percent and 2.5 percent of GDP, says the latest World Bank’s Water and Sanitation Program (WSP).
“The 18 African countries represented in this study account for 554 million people—that’s more than half of Africa’s population,” said WSP Manager Jaehyang So.
“This is powerful evidence for Ministers that their countries will not be able to grow sustainably without addressing these costs.”
The study covered Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Liberia, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia
The desk study, Economic Impacts of Poor Sanitation in Africa, found the majority of these costs to production come from annual premature deaths, including children under the age of five, due to diarrheal disease.
Nearly 90 percent of these deaths are directly attributable to poor water, sanitation, and hygiene.
Other significant costs were productivity losses from poor sanitation, and time lost through the practice of open defecation.