Back to the Future? Privatisation and the domestication of water in the Copperbelt Province of Zambia, 1900–2000

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Author(s)Kazimbaya-Senkwe B, Guy S
Publication type Article
JournalGeoforum
Year2007
Volume38
Issue5
Pages869-885
ISSN (print)0016-7185
ISSN (electronic)1872-9398
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In Zambia’s Copperbelt as in most of the developing world, the water sector is undergoing reforms targeted at promoting an active participation of the private sector. Conventional wisdom suggests that the private sector will be better able to achieve universal access as opposed to the public sector which hitherto has failed to deliver. Using archival materials from the Copperbelt Province, this paper however argues that in countries like Zambia where economic enterprise was driven by private capital, access to water has always been tied to an active involvement of the private sector. The full story of failure to provide universal access to potable water cannot be told without examining this historical role of the private sector and its relationship with the public sector. At the same time, contemporary policy debates can benefit from the resonance of historical debates around economic efficiency, demand management, health and access in the production and consumption of water.
PublisherPergamon
URLhttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2006.12.010
DOI10.1016/j.geoforum.2006.12.010
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