African Urbanisation and Urbanism: pro-poor instruments and neoliberal reforms in the water sector
- African Urbanisation and Urbanism: pro-poor instruments and neoliberal reforms in the water sector
- Speaker: Dr. Maria Rusca # King's College London
- Hosted by
- Introduced by
- Date and Time
- 15th Feb 2017 16:00 - 15th Feb 2017 17:30
- Seminar Rooms 1 & 2, Ground floor, Chrystal Macmillan Building, 15a George Square
Sub-Saharan Africa is rapidly urbanising and is expected to experience the highest growth globally in the coming decades. This growth mainly occurs in peripheral and unplanned areas, where inhabitants suffer disproportionally from deficits in infrastructures and basic services and the risks associated with poor access to water and sanitation. In the aspiration to expand services to these areas, development agencies and local governments have increasingly promoted development models that delegate service provision to low income unplanned areas to community based organisation or social private sector. These models, often described as fostering pro-poor water services, incorporate two distinctly different ideological positions. On the one hand they promote principles of affordability and ‘desired characteristics’ of participation and empowerment, increasingly seen as universal values in the development discourse. On the other they promote neoliberal principles aimed at enhancing economic efficiency, including cost recovery and commercialization of water. These principles, however, do not comfortably align and, as a result, initial claims of participation and pro-poor development often fail to materialize. These models, therefore, carry the danger of reproducing and even increasing existing inequalities in conditions of access to basic services. These arguments are developed by focusing on the Water Users Association model, developed in Lilongwe (Malawi) with the support of the international NGO WaterAid. This model envisions community based organisation taking over the responsibility of water distribution in the periphery of the capital, mostly inhabited by low-income dwellers and served through water kiosks. The arguments are developed through an oral presentation and a short documentary produced as part of the research project INHAbIT Cities (Investigating Natural, Historical, and Institutional Transformations in Cities).
The seminar is jointly sponsored by the Centre of African Studies and the Italian Cultural Institute in Edinburgh and the seminar will be followed by a drinks reception in the main foyer in CMB.