Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), a non-governmental organisation, has condemned the action of World Bank and for-profit only entities, in promoting water privatization in Africa, while urging African governments to fully uphold human right to water.
The executive director, CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, at a press briefing, organised by CAPPA and Public Services International and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), to commemorate the second edition of the Africa Week of Action Against Water Privatisation, in Lagos, disclosed that, the corporate water behemoths promoting water grabs across the globe have continued to strategise to become well positioned to take over Africa’s water.
For instance, Oluwafemi said, Veolia and Suez have consummated their unholy marriage and are now a single company called Veolia, adding that, their executives continue to expose their plans for Africa which is essentially about how to grab its water resources.
“Theirs partners, the World Bank has also been unrelenting in coercing African governments to adopt and implement the much-discredited Public Private Partnership (PPP) model of water privatization as a criterion for accessing loans,” he added.
If water privatisation scale through, the greatest impacts will be borne by communities that have for generations protected what they can rightfully call their birth right, Oluwafemi said, adding that, “If these schemes are allowed, the ramifications will be far from pleasant. The girl child who wakes very early to fetch water will have to do more legwork to get water. The danger she faced will be further escalated. She will spend more time looking for water than she will prepare for school. Communities that relied on streams and rivers nearby will be dispossessed of that blessing and end up going into extinction.”
He disclosed that, communities across Africa are sending a strong message to their government that water privatisation has no place in Africa, not now, not in the future, while reiterating that governments must 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.
He urged government to fully uphold the human right to water as an obligation of the government, representing the people; integrate broad public participation in developing plans to achieve universal access to clean water; reject contracts designed by or involving the IFC, which operates to maximize private profit; build the political will to prioritize water for the people by investing in the water infrastructure necessary to provide universal water access, which will create jobs, improve public health; increase budgetary allocation to the water sector and expand public financing for the water sector.