The agglomeration of Bamako, the capital of Mali is made up of an administrative district of six communes and different outskirts. The growth of the city of Bamako is very typical of a rapid urbanization in Mali. Today the population of Bamako is estimated to be about 1 500 000 inhabitants. Disadvantaged areas hosting more than 40% of the population of the city are mainly characterized by absence of modern infrastructures (water, sanitation). The high demographic growth, the concentration of the population and industrial activities has led to progressive pollution of water resources. Sector-based policies and strategies in the water sector have been reviewed and strengthened these past years including a decentralization process that has resulted in a reorganization of the water sector.
In order to achieve objectives under the Strategic Framework of Poverty Reduction (SFPR) and to meet the Millennium Development Goals on water and sanitation by the year 2015, the Government of Mali has designed a strategy called “ initiative on access to potable water” presented in December 2004. The policy recommendations and strategies currently serve as planning and management tools for the water sector in Mali.
According to the Demographic and Health Survey in Mali conducted in 2001, it was estimated that only 33% of the urban population have sanitation systems. The city of Bamako has 3 networks of mini-sewers (38.5 km) and 9 small hidden sanitation canals whose lengths reach 27 km and cover only 1.5% of the population for collective sanitation.
These shortcomings stem mainly from institutional, organizational and managerial problems which ought to be tackled and replaced with planned measures at the same time with emergency programmes so as to reduce interventions.
From the objectives and the priority focus of proposed interventions, the “Water for African Cities Phase II Programme” (WAC II) constitutes an opportunity for the Bamako city to exploit in facing up to the challenges of meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. The priority areas are:
- to develop governance framework, including normative aspects, management tools in the water and sanitation sector ( costs, sector-based policies, water demand management, sanitation technologies, gender mainstreaming) especially for the poor in Bamako;
- to promote initiatives aimed at encouraging investments in the water and sanitation sectors (sensitization, advocacy and exchange of information, water-based education, capacity building and training, gender considerations) in favor of the selected poor in the Bamako city;
- to put in place measures and indicators to facilitate the monitoring of progress towards meeting the Millennium Development Goals and objectives of the World Summit on Sustainable Development on Water and sanitation in Bamako.
UN-HABITAT will carry out an Implementation phase which will last for a period of two (2) years from March 2006 to December 2007. This implementation phase will benefit from the profound reform process in the WATSAN sector, including:
- privatization of the water company, negotiation of the actual contract to move from a full privatization towards the creation of a national holding company and a private company to be responsible for source development, treatment and distribution of water
- Decentralization to lower levels of government as one of the major focus for the Government in all areas particularly in WATSAN sector
- Empowerment of local authorities in service delivery
- The elaboration of a national policy in water and sanitation
- Creation of a national Water and Sanitation Board
- Restructuring of ministries in charge of water and sanitation, revision of the actual institutional framework in the water and sanitation sector.