Biwater corporation, water privatization sharks in Tanzania

Water privatization, cartoon

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Sharks in the water

(Monday 16 April 2007)

THE start of the damages claim against the Tanzanian government by privateer Biwater demonstrates that not all sharks swim in salt water.

The company is suing one of the poorest countries in the world for millions of pounds following the cancellation of its water privatisation contract in Dar es Salaam.

It is unsurprising that the company has resisted demands that the case be heard in open court, since the action itself is so grubby and unprincipled that any public knowledge of it would reflect badly on the moral standards of the company in particular and of capitalism in general.

The Tanzanian government cancelled the contract on the basis that the company had made less than half of the required investment and was not meeting targets.

Water privatisation in Colombia: here.

20 thoughts on “Biwater corporation, water privatization sharks in Tanzania

  1. For those of you interested on the effects of privatization on ordinary individual, especially when MNCs privatize essential infrastructure such as water, electricty, railways and health care, you should check out the new documentary “The Big Sell-Out.”

    This documentary challenges current economic orthodoxy in contending that the dogmatic claims of the international business establishment for neo-liberal development policies are not supported by modern economic science. More importantly, it dramatically demonstrates how the implementation of these policies is having disastrous consequences for millions of ordinary people around the globe.

    While national and international economic discourse is fixated on increasing efficiency and economic growth, The Big Sellout reminds us that there are faces behind the statistics. It raises serious questions about the neo-liberal credo that government best serves the public interest by becoming a servant to corporate interests. But brave individuals, like those showcased in this important new film, are standing up and demanding an alternative to the prevailing neo-liberal model, a model that the film shows to be as hollow as it is unsustainable.

    In particular to Latin America, the films documents how citizens in Cochabamba, Bolivia (mentioned in this article) have organized enormous protests in 2000, following the decision by the Bolivian government to sell the public water company to a private corporation, which would have made water cost-prohibitive to much of the population. The Big Sellout shows how ordinary people are fighting the neo-liberal commodification of basic public goods.

    If you are interested in obtaining a copy of this film, it is available from CA Newsreel at


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