Activists, African communities raise voices against water privatisation

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Daniel Kanu
Activists across Africa as well as communities negatively impacted and those under threat of water privatisation have called on African governments to jettison their water privatisation agenda as they vowed to resist it.
Rather, they warned all African government’s already involved in privatisation to return privatised water systems to localities for affordable and equitable management.
This was the position of the Africa water week 2022 stakeholders which kicked off on Tuesday, October 11, with the theme ” Africa Week of Action Against Water Privatisation.
From Nigerian, Mozambique, Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya, Gabon, Uganda, and Uganda etc the demand was that African government’s must fully uphold the human right to water as an obligation of the government and then integrate broad public participation in developing plans to achieve universal access to clean water.
The second edition of Africa Week of Action Against Water Privatisation coincided with annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Speaking at a Media pally in Lagos to mark the week, Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director , Corporate Accountability and Public Participation (CAPPA), who joined through virtual from Abuja, Nigeria, cautioned that ” The greatest impact will be borne by communities that have for generations protected what we can rightfully call their birth right”.
According to Oluwafemi ” There are more demand on African governments. We urge them to fully uphold the human right to water as an obligation of the government representing the people.
” Reject contracts designed by or involving the IFC, which operates to maximise private profit.
‘ Increase budgetary allocation to the water sector.
” Expand public financing for the water sector and build the political will to prioritise water for the people by investing in the infrastructure necessary to provide universal water access, which will create jobs, improve water health”.
A statement by CAPPA, stated that the communities, working in collaboration with civil society and labour groups under the aegis of the Our Water Our Right Africa Coalition will be holding townhall meetings, community engagements, press briefings, protest marches, meetings with policymakers and a host of engagements to press home their opposition to water privatisation schemes and the commodification of water, promoted by the World Bank and other international financial institutions, which continue to deprive communities their right to existence.
Notable voices including Comrade Sani Baba, Comrade Benjamin Anthony, Very Rev. Kolade Fadahunsi, Comrade Phillip Jakpor, female activist Aderonke Ige, Ustaz Imran Rufai, Director, The Arabic village, Neil Gupta (Corporate Accountability), Nura Ali among others, were all part of the conversation at the media meeting.
It was revealed that in some communities, water has been priced out of the reach of locals, forcing women and young girls to go the extra mile, including exposing themselves to dangers to get water for basic needs.
The communities, working in concert with civil society and labour, insist that while water remains one of the most fundamental necessities for life, giant corporations like Veolia and Suez, backed by international financial institutions like the World Bank are exploiting this basic need by trying to privatise water across the African continent, threatening to leave millions of people in communities suffering without water.
But the message is clear ” We do not want our water systems privatised.”
Already, a report – Africa Must Rise & Resist Water Privatisation – which details how privatisation has become the most potent threat to Africans’ human right to water, has been launched.
It cites water privatisation failures in the United States, Chile, and France as lessons for African governments being pressured by the World Bank and a host of multilateral financial institutions to toe the privatisation path.
The Portuguese and French versions of the report has also been unveiled.
A key demand of the African communities is that their governments halt privatisation plans and instead, invest in public water systems that include meaningful public participation in water governance, with particular focus on the perspectives of those typically left out of decision-making processes, including but not limited to women, low-income people, and rural communities.
The post Activists, African communities raise voices against water privatisation appeared first on Veloxnews.



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