Past, Present, and Future
The recent increasing demand for water by Africa’s growing population makes it clear that new water management strategies are necessary for the continent to benefit from sustained development. In the face of ongoing water shortages caused by reduced rainfall, frequent droughts, and global warming, new political and economic arrangements are essential to ensure cooperative use of available water resources. Kwadwo A. Sarfoh argues that such arrangements will inevitably bring peace to countries that share river basins.
Chapter VIII Water and Development in Africa in the 21st Century
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Water and Development in Africa in the 21ST Century
The configuration of Africa’s socioeconomic development was tied to availability of water at the time of the New Millennium more than at any other time in modern African history. This is not surprising in light of the fact that water, a natural resource, is intrinsically woven into water-sector activities critical to the continent’s quest for prosperity. Availability of water, however, is problematic since more than two-thirds of Africa’s land surface is covered by dry lands lacking adequate water supplies for development.
This lack is now compounded by a projected increase in demand for water among a growing population, as well as by erratic climate change. These two factors impact such natural variables as vegetation and water retention, and ultimately impede water-sector activities which are crucial for sustainable development.
This chapter explores the demand for water needed for future development. It identifies population growth and climate change as two areas requiring strong control and management. It also recommends ← 131 | 132 → strategies and policies directed at ensuring availability of water for development. Finally, the chapter puts forth institution building as a vehicle to address issues of water rights and access. The chapter begins by examining the twin challenges of population growth and climate change.
It is common knowledge that Africa is in the midst of great demographic changes. This can be readily...
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