Of the 738 million people globally who lack access to clean water, 37 percent are living in sub-Saharan Africa. Poverty in Africa results in over 500 million people suffering from waterborne diseases. According to the U.N. Millennium Project, more than 50 percent of Africans have a water-related illness like cholera.
Every year, sub-Saharan Africa loses $28.4 billion to water and sanitation problems. This amount accounts for approximately five percent of the region’s gross domestic product (GDP)—exceeding the total amount of foreign aid sent to sub-Saharan Africa in 2003.