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TitleCan sewerage be pro-poor? Lessons from Dakar : paper prepared for the West Africa Regional Sanitation and Hygiene Symposium, 3-5 Nov 2009, Accra, Ghana
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2009
AuthorsNorman, G
Pagination9 p.; 21 refs.; 1 tab.; 1 fig.
Date Published2009-11-03
Place PublishedS.l.
Keywordsaccess to sanitation, sanitation, senegal dakar, sewerage, sewers, urban areas, urban communities

Less than 20% of the urban population of sub-Saharan Africa is connected to a sewerage network, with wide variation between cities with relatively high levels of connection (like Dakar) and cities with practically no sewerage (like Lagos). Against this backdrop, some specialists argue that sewerage can be an appropriate solution for dense urban settlements in African cities; others that it is too costly, frequently dysfunctional, and ecologically unsustainable. So can sewerage be a pro-poor solution, or is it an inappropriate technology serving only wealthy elites? Certainly, most existing sewerage systems in West African cities serve only wealthy central districts, and many function poorly. But the recent sewerage expansion within Dakar’s PAQPUD programme, managed by the Senegalese National Office for Sanitation (ONAS), has specifically targeted poorer districts of the city, and has used settled sewerage (assainissement semi-collectif ), with nominally lower investment costs than conventional sewerage. Preliminary evaluation indicates that there have been serious construction delays in many districts, and that per-household investment costs have been considerably higher than was anticipated at project appraisal. However, those schemes that are operational are working reasonably well. This paper presents a brief overview of sewerage systems in West African cities, then reports initial findings of the ongoing evaluation of the Dakar settled sewerage schemes, and finally considers how ongoing sewerage investments might be made more pro-poor.

(authors abstract)

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