By Andrew Walker
BBC News, Abuja, Nigeria
The government has failed to provide water, so the private market steps in
Isa earns a hard living pushing a heavy water cart around the rutted streets of the suburbs of Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
He is one of tens of thousands of water vendors who deliver jerry cans full of water to houses built without any kind of sanitation.
“Kai! it is hard work, pushing my cart,” the 20-year-old says.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation, and according to analysts has made over $1.1 trillion in revenues from the oil industry over the last 30 years; but most Nigerians still rely on people like Isa for their water.
He and a dozen of his friends sleep in a makeshift shelter behind a small household goods shop.
They wake before dawn to queue up at a nearby borehole, where they fill 14 yellow 25-litre jerry cans on their handcarts before setting off around the streets looking for customers.
Fully loaded, the carts weigh at least 350kgs.
The roads they push them over are dirt tracks, rocky and pitted, with sewers running down the middle.
“In the future I want to get another job, but at least I make enough money to live doing this,” Isa says.
The urban poor pay more for water than the urban rich
Prices for water from private boreholes vary in the suburbs.
Isa pays around 10 naira ($0.07, £0.05) per jerry can at the borehole and sells for double that.
He makes around 700 naira a day ($4.70, £3.20), to cover food and living costs.
A large Nigerian family may need around 10 of these jerry-cans every day, customers say.
That adds up to about $486 (£339) every year, a massive pressure on a country where the average person lives on $2 a day.
This is a pattern repeated around the world, according to the UN Development Programme.
The urban poor in developing world cities including Abuja pay much more for their water than citizens of rich cities such as New York or Tokyo, precisely because the poor have to depend on private providers rather a piped municipal supply.