The African continent has large rivers, a hundred large lakes to which are added more than 600 000 cubic kilometers of water reserves. And yet, after Oceania, Africa is the second driest continent in the world. With 16% of the world’s population, it has only 9% of renewable water resources. Water is unevenly distributed, with the six most water-rich countries in Central and West Africa holding 54% of the continent’s total domestic resources and the twenty poorest countries holding only 7%. One-third of Africa’s population, 330 million, lacks access to safe drinking water and almost half of Africans suffer from health problems due to lack of clean water. Africa is the continent where access to quality water is the most limited in the world, barely 60% of sub-Saharan Africa is supplied with drinking water. Due to the gradual decline of these resources and the increase in consumption, the proportion of the African population at risk of water shortage will increase from 38% in 2013 to 74% by 2040, affecting 28 countries.
Water is becoming the object of much covetousness and tension between states between urban and rural areas. The situation could worsen due to the degradation of ecosystems due to the intensification of agricultural activities, increasing land pressure and the development of industrial activities. However, the main challenge is demographic: The African population should thus increase by half between 2010 and 2040, with a percentage of city dwellers going from 44% to 57%. The challenge lies in the ability to put in place mechanisms that manage to reconcile a goal of equal access for all, taking into account the differences in the financial potential of individuals.