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Strengthening pro-poor targeting of investments by African utilities in urban water and sanitation - the role of the International Development Association of the World Bank

Research report

Written by Peter Newborne, Josephine Tucker

Research report


This report presents findings from research into the impact of selected projects on water supply and sanitation (WSS) services in urban areas of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), with particular emphasis on the way in which poor areas and households are included in those investments. 

The research has focused on projects carried out by utilities and funded by the International Development Association (IDA). The IDA is an important source of funding for investments in WSS in low-income countries through concessional loans and grants. The research covered utility-implemented, IDA-funded projects in three countries, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Tanzania, focusing on the following cities: Accra (and one other urban centre in Ghana), Ouagadougou and Dar es Salaam.

The study assessed how the inclusion of low-income areas and households is conceptualised in urban WSS policies and strategies, designed in the specific projects under consideration - including the approaches of the water utilities/operators as observed in relation to those projects - and implemented on the ground.

This  report was written by Peter Newborne, Research Associate and Josephine Tucker, Research Officer to the ODI Water Policy Programme, and Kate Bayliss of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) of the University of London, based on the reports of research partners in the three countries.

The research was commissioned by WaterAid, as an input to an on-going dialogue process which aims to strengthen understanding between the World Bank and civil society organisations and was conducted over a period of three years.

The aim of this study has been to draw lessons from both the achievements and weaknesses of the selected projects, in order to contribute evidence and analysis to policy debates regarding the improvement of water services for previously un-served or poorly served users in SSA cities, with particular attention to low-income households.


Peter Newborne, Josephine Tucker and Kate Bayliss