Some 500 million people live in Africa without water security

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Toronto, Canada, 21 Mar A study released Monday by the UN warns that 500 million people in Africa live without water security and that in recent years, only 13 of the 54 African countries have achieved “modest levels” of water and sanitation security. The analysis, carried out by the Institute for Water, Environment and Health (INWEH) of the United Nations University, based in Canada, is the first to be conducted on water security on the African continent and is released one day before the celebration of World Water Day. UN researchers have used 10 indicators to assess water security, a concept that refers not only to the amount of water resources a country possesses but also to their management to ensure that the population has “access to adequate amounts of water with an acceptable quality to sustain” social life and activities -economic. INWEH concluded that only one country in Africa, Egypt, scores more than 70 points out of 100 for water security and that, in recent years, only 13 achieved a “modest level of water security”. More than a third of the 54 countries on the continent, 19, where some 500 million people live, have water security levels below 45 points, which is considered the minimum. One of the study's authors, scientist Grace Oluwasanya, explained in a statement that “overall, Africa's water security levels are low.” Ouwasanya added that no country or subregion of the continent “has at this time achieved a situation that can be considered a model or even an 'effective' stage of water security.” INWEH said Egypt, Botswana, Gabon, Mauritius and Tunisia are the countries in Africa with the greatest water security while Somalia, Chad and Niger are the worst. The report also concludes that most African countries have made almost no progress on water security in the past three to five years. In fact, 25 of the countries of the continent have not made any progress in this area. One of the 10 indicators used by INWEH researchers to classify water security is that of access to drinking water. The study notes that while in Egypt access to drinking water is 99 per cent, in the Central African Republic the figure is only 37 per cent and that the average on the continent for basic drinking water is 71 per cent, which means that 353 million people do not have access. Another indicator is that of access to sanitation services. While a minority of countries, especially in North Africa, have reached 100 per cent, access in Chad and Ethiopia is only 20 per cent of the population. Across the continent, only 60 per cent of the population has access to limited sanitation services.