Water and Solid Waste Management
A common saying simply describes water as being “life”. Unfortunately, Africa is host to the biggest deserts in the world and only 16% of African could access clean, safe water by the year 2004 according to The World Health Organization (WHO). However, there are many water resources throughout Africa and if ground water was fully utilized, then a bigger population would access safe water. The main challenge faced by Africa is funding water abstraction surveys and carrying out drilling to sustain the huge population.
But despite the financial challenges hindering the correct management of water and sanitation, Africa faces major governance problems which make it difficult to form legislations that will protect water sources and manage waste. Countries such as Congo-Brazzaville, Nigeria and Sierra Leone do not even have any formal water policies and others such as Namibia, Swaziland, Rwanda and Mozambique have noted that they do not have the human resources to champion these important causes.
Counties like Kenya have set up an Authority to manage her water resources covered in the six water towers found in the country. The Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) was created under the Water Act 2002 to monitor and manage the water resources in Kenya. The Authority is equipped with laboratories operated by qualified Water Quality and Pollution experts to test water samples for human consumption. The country also recently discovered a major water tower in one of its driest regions (Northeastern) covering an area of 65km2 with enough water to quench the nation’s thirst for at least 70 years.
This discovery in Kenya which is in the same region where oil was recently discovered, has led to modern and bigger infrastructure projects being initiated both by the government and by international partners. Modern roads are now being constructed as the drilling machines begin drilling this precious but scarce commodity.
Solid waste can be viewed as being a major problem in Africa, but it also provides employment for millions of Africans. Different African countries have therefor put in place measures that enable people to collect waste and dump them in designated areas for recycling. This in turn keeps the environment clean and improves the livelihood of these citizens. However, the ratio of cleaning the streets off waste versus that of the growing population is not even and this remains to be the challenge to African governments.
Schools and Medical Centers
There is an African proverb that says, “an old man sitting on a stool can see further than a young man on a tree.” This proverb only applied in the ages when education had either not arrived in Africa or during the early times of modern education when it was not fully embraced. Today, there are African countries that have become internationally recognized because of their innovations derived from education. For example, South Africa which ranks 1st as the most technologically advanced African nation is well known for its discoveries such as: Linux Ubuntu, Multichoice (DSTV) and CATScan just to mention a few. Nigeria recently saw the demonstration of a urine powered generator developed by teenagers as well as innovations in the mobile app business. Egypt is known to have some of the best universities in Africa while Kenya is globally known for the invention of a mobile money banking system called M-Pesa which is has even been embraced by developed nations like the UK.
This therefore means that if African governments focused on building more schools to reach the rural areas and invest in research and technology, the human resources readily available would be enough to drive the continent out of poverty and into 1st world development. Currently there are slightly over 10 African nations with a literacy rate of over 80% being led by Zimbabwe with a 90% literacy rate. Almost half of the African countries have less than 60% literacy levels meaning there is much that needs to be done in terms of investing in modern education infrastructures.
Healthcare in Africa seems to be facing a similar challenge to education and all other major infrastructures. The importance of modern healthcare services cannot be emphasized better having looked at the challenges faced in the Malaria and HIV/AIDS management. Cancer is also quickly becoming a major medical challenge that can only be addressed by investing in modern education systems and healthcare systems to keep the qualified practitioners and scientists in the continent. Governments in Africa must realize that they will continue to lose their qualified human resources if economic and governance infrastructures are not modernized. This in turn means that more people will die of preventable diseases due to a scarcity in professional healthcare.