In Senegal, despite significant progress in the last years, many gaps in sanitation access rates remain. According to the National Sanitation Office (Office National de l’Assainissement, or ONAS) performance contract reports between 2019 and 2021, 73 percent of the country’s urban population and 53 percent of the rural population have access to improved sanitation services. Even with these improvements, however, millions of Senegalese, mainly in rural areas and informal settlements, still do not have access to adequate and functional sanitation services. According to the Global Waters report of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), only 21 percent of the population had access to safely managed sanitation services in 2019.
One of the most significant consequences of the lack of public and domestic sanitation infrastructure is flooding in Dakar’s informal settlements. In 2009, flooding in the informal settlements of Pikine and Guédiawaye affected more than 360,000 people and generated very high reconstruction and rehabilitation costs, estimated at around XOF 62 billion. The sectors most affected were housing, health, agriculture, education, and transport, which received 92 percent. The torrential rains of 2020 also caused severe flooding in several Senegalese localities, mainly in Keur Massar-Jaxaay area. Keur Massar is a department in the Dakar region. With a population of 201,654 in 2013, Keur Massar is one of the informal districts. Every year, many houses in Keur Massar are flooded by rainwater. The lack of drainage and unfinished work are at the root of this stagnant and sometimes diverted water, which pours into some houses. In Keur Massar, an area of 60 hectares, covering 58 out of 144 informal settlements, was flooded, with some 3,000 families affected and 271 families displaced to schools and other temporary shelters., with some 3,000 families affected and 271 families displaced to schools and other temporary shelters.
Catastrophic events notwithstanding, the water and sanitation sector has a major socio-economic impact, especially in terms of health, hygiene, and education. According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), unsafe water supply, inadequate sanitation, and poor hygiene contribute to more than 88 percent of diarrheal diseases worldwide. In Senegal, diarrheal diseases are responsible for an estimated seven percent of deaths among children under five. Similarly, according to studies by Water Solidarity Program (Programme Solidarité Eau, or PSEAU), the lack of access to water and sanitation facilities in schools encourages families to withdraw their children, especially young girls.
Despite the Senegalese government’s commitment to improving sanitation services, several challenges persist, including budget credibility issues. This study examines the sanitation sector’s budget credibility, which refers to overspending or underspending of the budget approved by the legislature. The study analyzes the legal, institutional, and programmatic frameworks of the sector, highlighting problems and their causes as well as the impact on access to services for the population, particularly in the Pikine area. The study aims to inform policymakers, practitioners, and other stakeholders about budget credibility issues and their impact, using the sanitation sector as a case study.