Water management reform in rural areas of Senegal

By Moussa Diop

, by Pambazuka

This article is part of a special issue on water and water privatisation in Africa produced as a joint initiative of the Transnational Institute, Ritimo and Pambazuka News. This special issue is also being published in French.

Changes to the water sector in Senegal that have seen a disengagement of the state and the promotion of the private sector have had unforeseen effects, writes Moussa Diop. Increased waste in domestic water consumption is one of the contradictions, while existing social relations also have a significant impact on the water delivery environment.

In the name of macroeconomic adjustment, the Bretton Woods institutions advocated shock therapy: reestablishment of internal and external stability through severe budgetary austerity, privatisation of public companies, price deregulation, currency devaluation, abandoning large infrastructure projects and policies of import substitution. All these measures combined with a dose of moralism: good governance.

These measures for countries in crisis summarise what is conventionally referred to as the ‘Washington Consensus’ agreed to by the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and later the World Trade Organisation (WTO). These international financial institutions (IFIs) would provide loans to numerous African countries in order to finance infrastructure projects on the condition that they redirect their economic policies according to these guidelines.

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