Title: Managing Public Water Service in Medium-Sized African Cities

Language: English

Type: Document

Nature: Report

Published: June 1, 2015

Region: Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)

Country: Burkina Faso

Sector: Water and Sanitation

Keywords: Knowledge Lab ***, Water

Document Link(s):


Document Summary:

This note analyzes the experience of six African countries (Niger, Benin, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Uganda and Senegal) in creating the policy and institutional frameworks necessary to accelerate private sector involvement in water service delivery. While the situation in rural areas is well known, the need for water service is also particularly acute in medium-sized cities throughout Africa. These urban areas (with populations of 3,500 to 40,000, depending on country definitions) are growing rapidly and face many challenges that may not be present in capital cities.

Document Details:


Medium-sized cities are growing rapidly. It is crucial to explore the real challenges and limits of water supply in these cities and to define sustainable management solutions. Key challenges include:

  • Difficulty mobilizing the private sector. The private sector is reluctant to engage in partnerships with communities in the management of water services in medium-sized cities for diverse reasons..

  • Lack of regulatory, institutional and contractual enforcement. Roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined to allow for enforcement and broad ownership of governance and to shift responsibilities from inexperienced municipalities to stakeholders with more expertise.

  • Lack of technical and managerial competence.

    Lack of technical and managerial skills is seen as a handicap for the transition to delegated management in some countries.

  • Reluctance of the population. Local populations are not always favorable to private sector involvement in water management. There is a need for increased awareness among civil society and for establishing communications plans promoting delegated management.

Updated: November 19, 2022