Abstract

The abundant praise awarded for the development of the urban water services sector in Burkina Faso stands in stark contrast with the development of the rural water services sector. This article examines the funding of water infrastructure in four small villages in Burkina Faso. The article finds that public funding for water infrastructure for these municipalities is largely nonexistent. First of all, central government makes very little funding available for rural areas. Funding that is made available is then also prioritized for regions that already are relatively well covered. Secondly, the municipalities themselves also prioritize other sectors over the water sector for the investment of locally generated revenue. As a result, these municipalities rely on donor funding for developing water supply in their villages. This dependence not only leaves these municipalities vulnerable to shifts in donor funding but can also lead to inequalities as some municipalities are better at attracting donor funds than others. Some small towns are thus confronted with a double bias. First an urban bias in which the majority of public finance goes to urban centres. Second, by a donor-bias in which some towns are favoured for project implementation due to favourable site characteristics.

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