Water Governance in African Cities adds to the rich compendium of country, region, city and thematic reviews published as part of the OECD Studies on Water over the past 15 years. This special focus on African cities contributes to the expansion of the global outreach of the OECD’s work, thus adding to regional analyses of water governance in OECD countries (2011), Latin America and the Caribbean (2012) and Asia-Pacific (2020), as well as national water governance policy dialogues in Mexico (2013), The Netherlands (2014), Jordan (2015), Tunisia (2015), Brazil (2015 and 2017), Argentina (2019) and Peru (2021).

The regional spotlight on Africa contributes to the preparatory process of the 9th World Water Forum to be held in Dakar, Senegal (March 2022), in which the OECD co-leads the “Implementation Means and Tools” Priority. This report is also an output from the OECD Programme on Water Security for Sustainable Development in Africa, launched in 2018 by the OECD Secretary General; the recipient of the 6th edition of the King Hassan II Great World Water Prize, during the 8th World Water forum in Brasilia, Brazil (March 2018).

The focus on cities of all sizes aims to raise action from local leaders in driving water security in a continent subject to fast urbanisation. The report emphasises the essential role of cities to improve water governance systems that can secure the effective, efficient and inclusive provision of drinking water and sanitation to all citizens but also to manage mounting challenges related to floods, droughts and water pollution in a shared responsibility with national governments.

Mayors and city leaders, who are closer to citizens and place-based needs, can significantly contribute to the management of water at the appropriate scale, while increasing trust in public policy, through engagement with all stakeholders. This report and the resulting Mayors’ Roundtable for Water Security in Africa seek to accelerate action at all levels to reach SDG n°6 on “clean water and sanitation” in the continent, and beyond.

This publication contributes to the work of the Regional Development Policy Committee (RDPC). It was approved by RDPC delegates via written procedure on 18 February 2021 under the cote CFE/RDPC(2021)2.

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