Within sub-Saharan Africa, 569 million people, amounting to 69% of the population, do not use improved sanitation. This study presents an overview of European Union (EU) donor support to sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa and proposes a method for investigating the effectiveness of national sanitation programmes through linking aid flows to sanitation outcomes in terms of trends in open defecation; this can be used to locate the relative performance of different countries. The work addresses key concerns of the African Ministers' Council on Water and the European donors around the need to increase support to sanitation. Results show that EU donors are the major source of external finance for sanitation in sub-Saharan Africa. Case studies from Mozambique, Uganda and Burkina Faso show that the majority of national planned expenditure on sanitation comes from donor sources, with EU donors being the substantive contributors. National policies on subsidy for sanitation and expenditure allocations vary extremely widely and do not necessarily align with sanitation outcomes. EU member states' donor policies on sanitation are consistent and well-aligned with those of the African Union; this is a major achievement for Europe and Africa. Inadequate national monitoring of sanitation expenditure remains a constraint to determining programme effectiveness.

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