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This document is from the archive of the Africa Policy E-Journal, published
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Ghana: Water Privatization
Ghana: Water Privatization
Date distributed (ymd): 010604
Document reposted by APIC
Africa Policy Electronic Distribution List: an information
service provided by AFRICA ACTION (incorporating the Africa
Policy Information Center, The Africa Fund, and the American
Committee on Africa). Find more information for action for
Africa at http://www.africapolicy.org
Region: West Africa
Issue Areas: +political/rights+ +economy/development+
This posting contains a call for international support from the
Ghana National Coalition Against the Privatisation of Water, and
the Accra Declaration issued during the National Forum on Water
Privatisation that took place in Accra, Ghana during May 16-19,
For additional background on this issue see
the web sites of Globalization Challenge Initiative
(http://www.challengeglobalization.org) and Public Services
International (http://www.psiru.org and
http://www.world-psi.org), as well as a posting earlier this year
WATER IS NOT A COMMODITY!
WATER IS LIFE AND LIFE IS FOR ALL!
May 31, 2001
Dear Sisters and Brothers around the World:
We call upon organizations and individuals around the world to
express their international solidarity with the struggle of the
Ghanaian people to stop the privatisation of their water
services. World Bank policies require the Government of Ghana to
privatise water in order to gain access to external assistance
and soft loans. Five multinational corporations have bid for the
urban water service in Accra, most of them with annual sales
larger than the GDP of Ghana, and all of them with proven records
of socially irresponsible practices.
The National Forum on Water Privatisation took place in Accra,
Ghana during May 16-19, 2001. At the end of four days of
vigorous and exciting debate, the participants in the Forum
founded the Ghana National Coalition Against the Privatisation of
Water, called the 'Ghana National CAP of Water' and drafted the
Accra Declaration, attached below.
Express your solidarity! Show your support for the struggle to
stop the worldwide attempt to commodify water for the profit and
benefit of a few. Forward this message to others and then
please take the following actions:
- Sign-on to the Accra Declaration. Send your name and
organizational affiliation to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Write, fax or e-mail messages to the following people and tell
them to: Please stop the process toward privatisation of water
services until the people of Ghana have an opportunity to debate
and discuss a wide range of water management options, including
- His Excellency Mr. J.A. Kufuor
Office of the President of Ghana
Tel.: 233-21-676923/4 ext.110; Fax: 233-21-676934, 666528
- Honorable Mr. Kwamena Bartel
Minister of Works and Housing
Ministry of Works and Housing
P. O. Box M27 - Ministries
Tel: 233-21-665323; Fax: 233-21-663268
- Mr. Peter Harrold
World Bank Resident Representative, Ghana
P. O. Box M27 - Ministries
Tel: 233-724/22037; Fax: 233-72-227887
- Trade Union Congress (TUC)
P. O. Box 701
Tel: 233-21-62568 or 669675; Fax: 233-21-763920
- Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ)
Old Parliament House
Tel: 233-21-662568 or 669675; Fax: 233-21-667161
- Speaker of the Parliament
Thank you very much and please send a copy of all your messages
to the Ghana National Coalition Against the Privatisation of
Water (National CAP of Water) at:
Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC)
P.O. Box 19452
Accra North, Ghana
Email: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fax: 233/21 311687; Tel: 233/21 30606
International Solidarity Committee for the National CAP of Water
THE ACCRA DECLARATION ON THE RIGHT TO WATER
19th May, 2001
At the end of 4 days of debate during the National Forum on Water
Privatization in Accra, Ghana, which took place between the
16-19th of May, we the undersigned declare as follows:
- We are a diverse group of individuals and organizations drawn
from various parts of the country, and from other parts of
Africa, Europe and the United States; involved in the private,
public and voluntary sectors and working at varying levels of
- We are united by the following common principles, beliefs and
- That water is a fundamental human right, essential to human
life to which every person, rich or poor, man or woman, child or
adult is entitled.
- That water is not and should not be a common commodity to be
bought and sold in the market place as an economic good.
- Water is a natural resource that is part of our common heritage
to be used judiciously and preserved for the common good of our
societies and the natural environment today and in the future.
- Water is an increasingly scarce natural resource, and as a
result crucial to the securities of our societies and
sovereignty of our country. For this reason alone, its
ownership, control, delivery and management belong in the public
domain today and tomorrow.
- The public sector is legally and constitutionally mandated and
designed to represent the public interest. The essential purpose
of the private sector on the other hand is to make profit not to
promote the public good. Any public benefits arising from the
private sector's activities are incidental not designed. As a
result, the private sector cannot be trusted with the public
- Citizens have the right to effectively participate (as
distinguished from being informed) in the shaping of public
policies which fundamentally affect their lives such as the
control of water, and that government has a responsibility to
enforce this right.
- Community participation in the management of water systems is
valid/legitimate, essential and beneficial to the overall
effectiveness in affordable and sustainable water delivery.
- Water management policies should be designed to ensure social
equity such as gender equity, public health and environmental
Guided by the above stated principles, we commit to:
- Forming and promoting a Ghana National Coalition Against the
Privatization of Water herein called "The Ghana National CAP of
Water" which will be a broad coalition of individuals and
organisations committed to the above principles and to the
- To conduct a broad-based campaign to ensure that all Ghanaians
have access to adequate and affordable portable water by the
- To ensure that the right to water is explicitly guaranteed
under the Constitution of the Republic of Ghana.
- To ensure that the ownership, control and management of water
services remain in public hands.
- To promote public awareness and debate about the privatization
- To promote alternative solutions to the problems militating
against universal access to water including problems of public
- The important role that the local private business sector can
play, and should play, in partnership with communities, Ghanaian
artisans and experts and local government in ensuring efficient
and effective supply of water services.
- The inability of the Ghana Water Company Ltd (formerly Ghana
Water and Sewerage Corporation) over the years to provide
efficient and effective services resulting in public
frustrations and some loss of faith in the company. However
these perceived and real failures can only be appropriately
understood within the context of the broader failure of
governance and democracy over the years encompassing a wide
range of institutions including the security services, the
judiciary and many more. It is unlikely that the acceptable
solution for the failures of these institutions will be to
- The severe shortage of investment in the water sector required
to deliver adequate and affordable water to all. Whilst the
severity of this resource problem is itself debatable, it has
nevertheless led to solutions resulting in heavy dependency on
foreign creditors (especially the World Bank) which has in turn
compelled the country to accept rigid conditionalities that have
limited our options for financing and reforming the water
- We recognize the close link between access to water and
improved public health in view of the fact that nearly 70% of
all diseases in Ghana are currently water related.
- The view that privatization (the participation of foreign
transnational corporations) is the appropriate solution to the
problems bedeviling our water sector.
- The view that "to be private is to be efficient, and to be
public is to be inefficient"
- The view that the public sector, in this case the GWC Ltd, is
incapable of being reformed to deliver water services efficiently
and effectively to all.
- The view that the participation of communities in the
management of urban water supply is not feasible and cannot be
- The commodification of water.
- Efficiency solutions which result in the violation of social
and environmental rights and justice such as the rights of
workers, women, children and the preservation of the natural
- The World Bank imposed policy of charging rural and small town
communities an upfront contribution to capital cost. This policy
discriminates against rural and small town dwellers as it does
not apply to those who reside in large cities. The policy has
also resulted in excluding poor communities incapable of paying
from enjoying their right to consume portable water.
We call upon:
The Government of Ghana:
- To reverse the decision to put the privatization process on a
fast-track and to reconsider the broader decision to invite the
participation of foreign companies into water sector. Instead,
the GOG should investigate approaches which enhance and promote
local businesses in cooperation with communities, local
government bodies and the GWC Ltd.
- Publish the terms guiding the bidding process as well as the
profile of the companies currently pre-qualified to bid.
- Put all relevant documents in the public domain, including
World bank mission, project and evaluation reports, the
so-called Stone and Webster Report and/or the Transaction
Advisor's Report etc.
- Conduct a country-wide public debate on options for reforming
sector, including but not limited to private sector
- Review the budget with the view to prioritizing allocation in
favour of the water sector.
- Exert pressure on government to allow for broad debate and a
possible review of the current decision to privatize.
- Embark on wide-scale consultation with their constituencies and
civil society in general.
- Support a process of constitutional and legal reform to secure
the rights of all persons to portable water.
The Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice
- Make the Right to Water central to their campaign on the right
The TUC, the PUWU and Organisations of working people.
- Be at the fore front in the struggle for the right to water,
and our right as a nation to keep our public utilities within
the public sector.
- Continue to work towards greater efficiency, accountability and
good governance in all of our national life including the water
- To oppose the mortgaging of our water resources to foreign
multinational companies, with proven record of the oppressions of
workers rights and the promotion of corrupt and corrupting
practices in other jurisdictions.
Women's Rights Organisation
- To recognize and promote the right to water as crucial to
addressing gender inequality and repression
The GJA and the Media Houses and Practitioners
- To call for and support an informed and broad-based debate on
the water privatization agenda and its effect on the right to
water by all Ghanaians.
Religious Organisations, and all other sectors of Civil Society.
- To raise the moral voice on the right to water and to lend
their varied media to popular education and debate on the
effects of water privatization.
Ministry of Health
- To join the campaign to ensure access to safe, affordable water
as a fundamental aspect of the commitment to improve the public
health of the nation.
Donors, Creditors, Including the World Bank
- To de-link external assistance and soft loans to the condition
to privatize our water systems.
- To commit to promoting true national ownership of policies as
expected under the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper processes
currently being actively promoted by them. This requires, among
others, respecting genuine national decisions which may not be in
consonance with their opinion.
- To fulfill the commitment made by the Ghana World Bank resident
Representative, Mr Peter Harrold, at the National Forum on Water
Privatization, to make the eradication of guinea worm the number
one priority. This will require that public health, rather than
cost recovery determine investment in water services.
We commit ourselves, under the banner of the Ghana National CAP
of Water to pursuing these demands and commitments to their
logical conclusions. We believe that under the new democratic
dispensation we will be one with government in promoting zero
tolerance to corruption, democratic participation, transparency
and accountability. We, like the government believe that these
are important tenants of democracy and good governance and are
crucial to ensuring social justice and reducing waste.
This material is being reposted for wider distribution by
Africa Action (incorporating the Africa Policy Information
Center, The Africa Fund, and the American Committee on Africa).
Africa Action's information services provide accessible
information and analysis in order to promote U.S. and
international policies toward Africa that advance economic,
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