The Water Citizens Network (WCN) has identified water privatisation as a key threat to achieving the Human Right to water as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Group observed that water sector privatisation including; those backed by the World Bank, continued to threaten poor households and public health in Africa and will make it impossible for the continent to meet the SDG 6, which advocates the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by the year 2030.
The Coordinator for the Network, Mr Leonard Shang-Quartey, in a statement said, privatisation shifted the emphasis of water management to maximise profit for private investors, rather than ensuring universal access for all people, especially low-income earners.
According to him, the value of water in addressing issues of environmental, social, and cultural can be downplayed with privatisation.
“This fundamental disconnect has been exposed by community groups, labour leaders, and even UN experts”, He added.
The Water Citizens Network cited numerous examples of water privatisations on the continent that had gone bad in Ghana, for instance, the World Bank-backed privatisation was rejected wholeheartedly by civil society and labour groups leading to a momentous de-privatisation in recent years.
In Nigeria, local activists continue to stave off a World Bank-promoted Public Private Partnership (PPP) model of water privatisation.
The Cameroonian government recently pulled out of a failed privatisation arrangement involving the water utility company, but may now be considering embarking on another privatisation arrangement using the guise of lack of public financing for the water utility company, the coordinator added.
Meanwhile, Water Privatisation threat also loomed in virtually every corner of the continent, including; countries like, Gabon, Kenya and Uganda.
He said, “The theme of the World Water Day commemoration should motivate African governments to take action. It is a reminder that the issue of governance is central to guaranteeing universal access to water.
“They must therefore reject water privatisation in all its forms and prioritize sustained public funding in the sector to meet people’s water needs”.
The World Water Day has been celebrated since 1993 to raise awareness about the billions of people living without access to safe water and sanitation.
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