United Kingdom charity WaterAid has urged government, donors and businesses make water, sanitation and hygiene (Wash) investments central to fiscal stimulus packages in developing countries to strengthen economies.
In a published statement on Wednesday, the charity said developing country economies would be boosted by trillions of dollars over the next two decades if clean water, toilets, and hygiene were brought to everyone.
Reads the statement in part: “Ensuring everyone has a toilet where waste is safely managed can yield $86 billion [K71 trillion] per year in greater productivity and reduced health costs among other benefits.
“Ensuring everyone has somewhere to wash their hands with soap and water can yield $45 billion [K37 trillion] per year. Ensuring everyone has a tap at home can yield $37 billion [K30 trillion] per year.”
The charity observes that at the current rate of progress, Sustainable Development Goal number six on achieving universal access to safe water and sanitation will not be met until decades after the deadline of 2030.
WaterAid Malawi country director Mercy Masoo is quoted in the statement as having said that ensuring that everyone everywhere has access to basic water, hygiene and toilets would bring returns of up to 21 times, observing that investements in water and sanitation have been sidelined for far too long, trapping millions in poverty.
She said: “Our research shows that it is an extremely cost-effective investment.”
Meanwhile, earlier this year, Britain announced plans to scale down aid and spending on Wash in developing countries by at least 80 percent.