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Assessing Access: Basic Managed Drinking Water in Africa

Context Setting the stage and providing background information

The visual Description and analysis of the visual representation

Observations Notable findings and insights derived from the visual

Limitations Elements or data points not included in the visual

The data Sources and details regarding the data used in the visual

Reflections Personal thoughts and considerations on the subject matter


The SDG 6 indicator mandates access to 'safely managed' drinking water, defined as water from an improved source accessible on the premises, when needed, and free from fecal and priority chemical contamination. Basic water, however, falls short of this standard and includes water collected from an improved source that requires a round-trip journey no longer than 30 minutes, including queuing. While most countries in Africa lack national values for 'safely managed' progress, they generally have data on services meeting 'basic' levels.

The Visual

The visual analysis centers on 15 African countries with the lowest access to basically managed drinking water in 2020. Using drinking glasses, the visual illustrates the quantities of water available in comparison to other countries in Africa.


Five countries—Central African Republic, South Sudan, Chad, Niger, and Burkina Faso—have less than 50% coverage for basic service. This indicates that at least 39 million people in these five countries did not have access to a basic drinking water service in 2020.


The visual lacks data on 'safely managed' drinking water for several African countries, impacting the comprehensiveness of the visual representation. Despite values provided for 'safely managed' water for DR Congo (19%), Ethiopia (12.6%), Central African Republic (6.2%), and Chad (5.6%), they were excluded from the visual due to difficulty in comparison with other countries that are missing data. Values for Eritrea and Equatorial Guinea represent basic service in 2016 and 2017, respectively.

The Data

The data utilized in this visual is sourced from the Institute for Water Environment and Health (UNU INWEH), offering a preliminary quantitative global assessment of water security for 7.78 billion people across 186 countries, including all African countries in 2020. The 2023 Global Water Security Assessment can be accessed here.


Access to sufficient water of adequate quality is not only fundamental to human life but also crucial for socioeconomic development and environmental sustainability, as emphasized by the United Nations University Institute for Water Environment and Health (UNU INWEH). What factors are contributing to the persistence of disparities in access across African countries? Please find the article with my changes.



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