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TitleFinancing sanitation in sub-Saharan cities : a local challenge : paper presented at the IRC symposium : sanitation for the urban poor : partnerships and governance, Delft, The Netherlands, 19-21 November 2008
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsToubkiss, J
Pagination8 p.; 1 tab.
Date Published2008-11-19
Place PublishedDelft, The Netherlands
Keywordsfinancing, sanitation, sanitation services, sub-saharan africa, sustainability, sustainable development

Due to very low coverage rates, sanitation is one of the key issues at stake in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in overcrowded areas such as peri-urban areas and slums. Among the range of technical, institutional and social issues that need to be addressed, financing is a key concern. The financing of sanitation should be considered not merely in terms of development assistance, but in terms of how to build sustainable local financing mechanisms. Primarily a local problem, the two main challenges of financing sanitation are: setting up financial tools that stimulate household investments for on-site sanitation facilities and anticipating the financing of ongoing maintenance and operation. Various financing mechanisms have been tested in the field to try to increase the demand required to stimulate household investments. While micro-finance is often restrictive and inaccessible to the poor, household subsidies are easier to manage and make installations more affordable, particularly for the poorest. Recovering maintenance costs is a real obstacle to the sustainability of sanitation services, particularly for sludge treatment plants and collective or semi-collective installations. Among possible cost-recovery strategies, co-composting and recycling often fail because they require a whole supply chain whose end-product is more expensive than industrial fertilizers. A more promising approach aims to charge a fee for using the treatment plant to cover operational costs. While ODA remains indispensable for financing major infrastructures that are too expensive to be covered by most African central and local governments, it can, however, show its limits in supporting on-site and semi-collective sanitation programmes that must be financed in the long-term. Today, a “sanitation surcharge” on existing water services appears to be one of the most effective examples of a “sustainable local financial tool for sanitation”. (authors abstract)

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