African countries must discard the water privatisation agenda being pushed by Bretton Woods Institutions, a civil society group has warned.
Florence Ifeanyi-Aneke, head of non-profit New-Life Community Care Initiative (NELCCI), alleged that African governments were already under intense pressure from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. She said this was being done via promises of huge funds and loans to Africa.
Ms Ifeanyi-Aneke said African communities are against the agenda to take their fundamental rights away from them and as such, African government must not give in.
She made the call on Friday at an event to commemorate the 2022 Africa Water Week in Enugu. The NGO is partnering Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa to market the event, entitled “African communities against water privatisation”.
The Africa Water Week of Action was especially fashioned to coincide with the annual meeting of the two Bretton Woods Institutions.
Ms Ifeanyi-Aneke stressed that African communities, especially those under the threat of water privatisation, are calling on African governments to resist the temptation to privatise water resources.
She argued that the right thing should be to return water to localities at an affordable rate under equitable management.
She said: “Local communities in Nigeria have joined other communities across the continent, including Cameroon, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique, Senegal Uganda, and a host of other African countries to make this demand.
“They are pleading with African Governments to prioritise water provision as a human right as opposed to business venture.”
The NELCCI director recalled that in 2021 at the inaugural Week of Action Against Water Privatisation in Africa, civil society and labour groups on the continent resisted the privatisation of water.
The groups, she said, launched a report, entitled “Africa must rise and resist water privatisation”, which detailed how privatisation had become the most potent threat to Africans’ right to water.
She further said that communities, working in collaboration with civil society and labour groups, under the auspices of “Our water, Our right Africa Coalition”, also opposed the idea of water privatisation.
“In line with this, they held town hall meetings, protest marches and meetings with policy makers to press home their opposition to water privatisation schemes and the commodification of water.
She regretted that water had been priced out of the reach of many locals, forcing women and young girls to expose themselves to dangers to get water for basic needs.
Ms Ifeanyi-Aneke said: “Communities are standing in solidarity because when they are deprived of a basic right, which guarantees their existence, they stand the risk of being wiped out of existence.
“The key demand of the people is that African Governments discard privatisation plan and invest in public water systems that will benefit its people directly.”