Water Sector Governance in Africa Volume 2

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Publication Title

Water Sector Governance in Africa Volume 2: Assessment Guidelines

Publication Type


Water Partnership Programme of the African Development Bank

Publication Date

November 2010


Publication URL




Water governance has been described as “…the range of political, social, economic and administrative systems that are in place to develop and manage water resources and the delivery of water services, at different levels of society.”

Good governance mainly depends on the quality of leadership, the strength of the institutions and how efficiently, effectively, sustainably, and transparently the resources are managed by sector institutions and main stakeholders.

On the African continent however, rigorous technical, financial, economic and institutional assessments undertaken in support of projects have not guaranteed sustainability of project outputs and outcomes. This checkered history of water sector projects over the past three decades provided the rationale for the African Development Bank to launch this initiative to assess water sector governance in Africa.

This report takes preliminary steps to investigate whether poor governance has been a major contributing factor to this lack of sustainability. Specifically, the report provides an overview and assessment of the state of water sector governance in Africa – looking at a very broad range of governance-related elements, including legislation and regulation, decentralization and devolution, sector-wide approaches, financial management, monitoring and evaluation, accountability and corruption as well as civil society participation, gender, alternative service provision, public-private partnerships and equitable service delivery. The study highlights current thinking and research on all these key elements and issues affecting their quality.

Contemporary literature on water sector financing understandably focuses on the mechanisms and challenges associated with funding tangible water supply and sanitation services. This study however draws attention to the importance of financing overarching water management and governance functions, from strategy, planning and policymaking and engagement with sector stakeholders to water resource development, allocation and management.

Based on the report’s findings, indicators and targets have been developed to improve the sector’s governance. Volume 1 titled: “Theory and practice” presents the findings, indicators and targets to be achieved while Volume 2 presents concrete “Assessment guidelines” for conducting water sector governance assessments for programs and projects in Africa, based on the findings of Volume 1.


See also


Water Governance


External Resources



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