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Tanzanian water and the World Bank

by whataboutbob Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 03:35:01 AM EST

I want to capture this article Fran dug up in Fridays Salon from The Guardian: The Water Margin

Tanzania was glad to secure the services of a British-led consortium to run the newly privatised water system in its capital Dar es Salaam. But then the price of water started to rise ... (...)

Three British expatriates were detained by the police in Tanzania, senior managers at City Water, a consortium responsible for managing Dar es Salaam's water supply. After being held for several hours, the men were served with notices describing them as "undesirable immigrants" and told to leave the country. That evening at Julius Nyerere airport, they were escorted on to a plane bound for London. Their families were left to follow some days later.

(...) Their departure from Tanzania signalled the end of a flagship World Bank privatisation deal that had been trumpeted as a modern solution to public water supply in an underdeveloped country. And it marked the beginning of a legal action that has proved hugely controversial in aid and development circles as Biwater plc, the Dorking-based private water company that led the consortium - and which is owned by Adrian White, a multi-millionaire ex-BBC governor and a former high sheriff of Surrey - pitted itself against the government of one of the world's poorest countries.

The story of water in most cities in the developing world is that the group paying the most is the poor, because they have to resort to the water vendors who peddle this precious commodity around the streets. But in Dar es Salaam it is not only the poor. Decades of neglect and underinvestment in the city's water infrastructure mean that fewer than 100,000 households - in a city of 3.5 million people - have running water.

If anyone has any more information on this particular situation in Tanzania, I would appreciate hearing it. But also, it would be interesting to know of other World Bank water privatization schemes, and how those are faring.


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The idea that the World Bank bases loans to countries like Tanzania, based on such schemes as requiring that their water be privatized, and then results in people not being able to afforsd their own water...that makes me angry.

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Sat Aug 18th, 2007 at 03:37:45 AM EST
I agree.  This heartless exploitation at its worse.  When we think of the poor countries of Africa, Latin America, Asia and elsewhere we often think that their poverty is due to local corruption. This goes to show that corruption and parasitism is alive and well and waiting to be exported everywhere.

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Sat Aug 18th, 2007 at 11:34:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Makes me angry too. Not just that there are scheming sharks who feed off vital resources for their own profit, but that official bodies like the WB should be totally sold out to the cause of furthering the sharks' feeding. It's disgraceful and has to be seen to be believed. Thirty years now of robber barons enthroned as rightful kings. Enough.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 08:49:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
World Bank and IMF are in dire conditions right now because they lived off their "clients" and no one want their stinking loans and ideology anymore.

We should encourage and spread information about sound regional initiatives to replace these failed institutions.

by Laurent GUERBY on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 12:43:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just realized that CEO has a sister organization called www.waterjustice.org  and you many find information there about many water projects trying to fight privatization.  Hope it helps.

Our knowledge has surpassed our wisdom. -Charu Saxena.
by metavision on Sun Aug 19th, 2007 at 03:56:42 PM EST
here's the link (thanks metavision!)    http://www.waterjustice.org/

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 03:38:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the World Bank also required that countries privatize the education of children.  This resulted in a drop of literacy levels in countries across Africa.

As soon as this restriction was lifted recently, more children were going to school.

by zoe on Mon Aug 20th, 2007 at 04:22:15 AM EST
it is the reverse Midas touch of the IMF and World Bank. Everything they privatize turns to shit.

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 04:58:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sounds just like the case of Bolivian water privatization.

The Nation (US): The Politics of Water in Bolivia (January 28, 2005)

Etched deeply into the granite walls just inside the entrance of the World Bank headquarters in Washington are the words, "Our dream, a world free of poverty." Earlier this month in Bolivia, the citizens of South America's poorest country sent the bank a message once again that the poor aren't too keen on the part of that dream that involves handing their water over to foreign corporations.

On January 10 the citizens of El Alto took to the streets en masse to demand that their water system, privatized in 1997 under World Bank pressure, be returned to public hands. Three days later Bolivia's president issued a decree canceling the water concession, led by the French water giant Suez, and an arm of the World Bank itself. The El Alto water revolt follows, by five years exactly, the now famous revolt against water privatization in Cochabamba, in which a company controlled by the Bechtel Corporation was ousted from the country.

Together, these two revolts over water should send an important message to officials at the World Bank, if they are willing to hear it.



Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat Sep 1st, 2007 at 04:57:38 PM EST


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