The aim of this research was to improve African water utilities' management of service delivery through establishing and applying agreed performance indicators.
The work was undertaken for Water Utility Partnership for Capacity Building in Africa (WUP), established in 1996 with World Bank support, and based in Ivory Coast. Its main objectives are to increase water and sanitation service coverage in Africa and to improve service quality through increased investment and utility reform.
One branch of the WUP has set-up a utility network to establish performance indicators and facilitate benchmarking in African water utilities. The network is the "Water Supply and Sanitation Service Provider Performance Indicators and Benchmarking Network", or "SPNET.Africa". Further details of the work are on www.wupafrica.org/performance.html.
This collaborative research project developed performance indicators and benchmarking for WUP (with Department for International Development (DFID) funding) and was undertaken by WRc and Regional Consultants in West, Southern, East, North and Central Africa.
The research included:
- Water utility workshops across Africa to introduce benchmarking and agree performance indicators. Following the research, workshops to promote developed performance indicators
- Producing a database of performance indicators
- Supporting WUP staff to enable them to run data collection and analysis in future years.
In total, 38 performance indicators for water and 23 performance indicators for sanitation were established in demand management, operations, revenue and assets. Over 110 utilities were involved in the project from 41 countries, out of a total of 171 water utilities in Africa.
The research identified performance gaps, which could be improved through benchmarking against superior performers, and the implementation of performance improvements.