Following World Toilet Day, Veolia reminds us that sanitation is a major issue in Africa

4.2 billion people across the world do not have access to sanitation and half of these excluded people are in Africa. The situation is worsening, particularly as a result of climate change and more frequent extreme events - such as storms, floods and droughts – driving 30 million people to migrate in 2019 (Institute for Economics and Peace, sept 2020).

As sanitation is obviously a major cross-cutting issue in our societies, these worrying figures require us to mobilize to protect the planet and its inhabitants. Behind good sanitation lies health, hygiene, education and the environment. There is life: globally 70 to 80% of diseases are linked to poor water quality and the lack of sanitation facilities.   

So why is there such a shortage of access to sanitation services on the planet? The main cause is a lack of commitment from political leaders (be they local, national or international) to ensure the issue of wastewater has a prominent place on the development agenda. The strong social demand seen in some places is rarely matched by high-level leadership. How many politicians are keen to talk about urine and faeces? Very few, in fact. Most prefer to deal with other, more attractive topics in their public interventions or action programs. There are other reasons in addition to this sad fact, such as the burden of investment, the difficulty of organizing the service and covering its costs, and citizens' expectations that are less pressing than for drinking water. 

In fact, we are far from the goal the United Nations set in 2015 in its 6th SDG for 2030: guaranteeing access to water and sanitation for all.

Sanitation solutions for all

Following World Toilet Day 2020 on November 19, Veolia would therefore like to call attention to the fact that there are solutions for achieving this UN sustainable development goal. Fortunately, there is reason for hope and in its 2019 report the UN emphasizes that investing in water and sanitation infrastructure is cost-effective. The return on investment is high, especially for the most vulnerable people. The multiplier effect for each dollar invested is estimated at 2 for drinking water and 5.5 for sanitation.

In Morocco, in line with the policy outlined by King Mohammed VI, major investments have been made to ensure that in the field of sanitation and depollution of coastlines, infrastructure is developing at the same pace as the population. In Tangiers, Tetouan, Rabat and Salé, Veolia has put an end to the pollution caused by the discharge of almost all the wastewater generated by these cities, thereby improving the environment of people living in the regions concerned. It is a virtuous solution because the treated wastewater is reused to water public green spaces, thereby preserving water resources.


Through its subsidiary Amendis in Tangiers, Veolia has been deploying access to sanitation as part of the National Initiative for Human Development (INDH). Benefiting both health and the environment, this social program has connected 294,000 low-income residents to the sanitation system and has raised the connection rate from 72% in 2002 to more than 99% today.t. 

In Namibia, the driest country in southern Africa, we have been entrusted with managing the wastewater recycling plant, which has a capacity of 21,000 cubic meters per day. It provides more than one-third of drinking water requirements, supplying the taps of almost 400,000 inhabitants. Now an international benchmark, the Windhoek plant is a model of innovative and sustainable water management; An example of a successful public-private partnership, it is attracting more and more official delegations from across the continent and welcoming numerous experts from Australia, Singapore and the United States. 


In regions subject to high water stress, recycling wastewater is one of the solutions that effectively preserve water resources. Since 2001, Veolia has been recycling the wastewater produced by the city of Durban in South Africa for reuse by local industries.

More : 

Veolia Foundation: Sharing expertise for access to water and sanitation
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The Veolia Foundation organizes the humanitarian WASH workshops (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene)

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