Community management of handpumps has been the accepted mode of thinking for rural water supply over three decades in Africa. However, despite billions invested in rural handpumps one in three handpumps do not work in rural Africa. This represents a huge wasted investment and is associated with high but avoidable health, welfare and livelihood costs. Encouragingly, the risk of handpump breakdown bears all the hallmarks of an insurable risk.
Urban areas in sub-Saharan Africa are growing rapidly. While there has been considerable attention paid to the challenges of African mega-cities, the experiences of smaller urban areas have been relatively neglected. Secondary cities, with populations of less than half a million, are absorbing two-thirds of all urban population growth in Africa.