Pambazuka News 533: Special issue: Water and privatisation


Hydropower dams are ‘well-suited for facilitating industrialisation and exploitation of natural resources, but not for reducing Africa’s energy poverty’, writes Lori Pottinger. And given the water-security problems posed by climate change, ‘the proposed frenzy of African dam building could be literally disastrous.’


Donors and development banks have largely focused on private-public partnerships in their attempts to develop water management capacity around the world, overlooking the vast expertise of public sector water operators. But now they too are starting to recognise the benefits of Public-Public Partnerships for the provision of public water and sanitation services, writes David Hall.


Mali’s Dogon have traditionally seen water as a source of life and a public good, with the right to water ‘a prerequisite to all other human rights.’ Now the privatisation of water threatens to exclude citizens from managing their most precious resource, leaving ‘the task with a commercially minded technocracy’, says Sékou Diarra.

Despite UN recognition of access ‘to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of life and all human rights,’ it is a right that is far from being realised in most parts of the world, writes Jacques Cambon.


Changes to the water sector in Senegal that have seen a disengagement of the state and the promotion of the private sector have had unforeseen effects, writes Moussa Diop. Increased waste in domestic water consumption is one of the contradictions, while existing social relations also have a significant impact on the water delivery environment.