Water privatization before I came to Ghana to work on the Use a UK Vote campaign was just a term we used in lesson to describe policies from the IMF and World Bank. We would debate endlessly about whether they should or shouldnt happen and on and on and on. Today I witnessed first hand the effects of these policies and learnt that the reality for those at the receiving end is much different than what is discussed in theory. Kojo, my colleague and the founder of Pan Afrika Nyemei took me on a tour around Labadi. Everywhere I turned I could see big Black barrels. I had seen them before but had not paid attention to what they actually do. I was told that since the privatization of water these barrels have replaced the water system that used to flow freely through the taps and into the homes of the community. Now people have to buy yellow canisters, fill them up with water and then walk the distance back to their houses. For some due to poverty, buying the canisters needed to access the water represents a problem and for these people water is now inaccessible to them. For others the inconvenience of the whole system has meant that many are not getting the amount of water they need. In a hot country like Ghana where temperatures of 34 degrees in winter is normal any restrictions on water present immediate problems.
The profits of the water privatization do not go back to the Ghanaian people but to multinational companies based in far off countries. When shareholder profits are placed on water then we're stepping into a territory that disregards the most basic and fundamental human rights of the individual - which is water as a human right.