It is common knowledge that Africa has been facing water shortages and water quality issues. That means, even where water is available, the water is not drinkable. The situation worsens whenever drought cases are reported, making it easier for the local community to access water.
Tanzania’s water shortage situation
In mid-November, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city, responded to weeks of drought by allocating water to residents and businesses. But some areas of this city of nearly 7 million people only have tap water once a week, if any.
As developed countries focus on decarbonization and energy transformation, the ongoing water crises in Africa and other parts of the global South have not received the same level of attention. Even at COP26, a newly formed Water and Climate Alliance joined forces with the mission to “raise awareness, share experience and provide guidance” on these issues.
The extreme importance of public control of water is closely related to the role that international financial institutions sometimes play in funding undelivered water projects.
Many African countries rely on investment from Western governments and international financial institutions to build, manage, and maintain water infrastructure.
As of 2019, the World Bank has provided US$8.2 billion in funding for water sector projects in sub-Saharan Africa, which is the highest investment among all regions and accounts for more than a quarter of its entire global water resources practice portfolio. As a member of the World Bank Group, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has invested more than US$1.4 billion in private water companies worldwide since 1993 and has pledged to increase significantly every year.
These investments seem to benefit countries that cannot raise the huge sums of money needed to build, manage, and maintain water supplies. However, water supply is still poor, and many African countries have little opportunity to consider financing opportunities other than privatization. Instead, these life-changing decisions are made by private companies and financial entities controlled by the governments of developed country member states.
Like similar undertakings in the United States and Europe, many private water projects in Africa have repeatedly failed.
“Companies and institutions like the World Bank are trying to draw water and profits from Africa as if they have a huge straw,” the influential Pan-African Corporate Responsibility and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) Executive Director Akinbode Oluwafemi said at an international press conference during the CAPPA-sponsored African Anti-Water Privatization Action Week in October.
Like similar undertakings in the United States and Europe, many private water projects in Africa have repeatedly failed, prompting state officials or local activists to urge remunicipalization and the transfer of privatized assets once operated by local or state agencies to public control.
The Dar es Salaam Water Supply and Wastewater Treatment Company (DAWASCO) was established after the Tanzanian government stepped in to end its disastrous experience in water privatization.
With information from: https://prospect.org/world/tanzania-and-nigeria-struggle-with-water-access-quality/