From 27 – 30 June 2022, African Center for Advocacy(CA) participated in the Shifting Narratives Conference, a four-day virtual conference hosted by the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose at UCL (UCL-IIPP) together with other partners including the University of Greenwich, University of Ghana, Azim Premji University and Conicet, the global union federations, PSI (Public Services International), ITF (International Transport Workers Federation), international NGOs Transnational Institute (TNI) and Oxfam, and the Young Scholars Initiative.

At the conference, Younoussa Abbosouka, Program Officer, African Center for Advocacy(CA), spoke at the regional workshop session for Africa, Asia and Latin America, alongside Akinbode Oluwafemi and Aderonke Ige of Corporate Accountability & Public Participation, Nigeria; Dr. Everline Aketch of Public Services International (Kenya + East African) and Fatou Diouf of Public Services International, SenegalThe workshop session which focused on water issues, trends and campaigns against privatization across Africa was jointly organized by Public Services International (PSI) and CAPPA with Sani Baba of Public Services International as its moderator.

Younoussa Abbosouka, in his presentation titled “Campaign against another water privatization in Cameroon”, shared the experience of ACA in the campaign to keep water in the public domain in Cameroon. The initiative is in collaboration with other CSOs, unions and grassroots movements to stop water corporates manoeuver to force the government to privatize, again, the water sector. He highlighted how the campaign brought the government to invest more in the water infrastructure and distribution in low social status communities. Younoussa highlighted that the threats of another privatization are still present in Cameroon. We learned through his presentation the importance to have a sound legal and recognized water as a human right in the country’s constitution. That recognition will ensure the existence of effective legal tools that we could rely on to push private’s corporates from any attempt to manage the water sector.

As a way forward, Younoussa suggested:

  • Increase cooperation and knowledge sharing across public water utilities to counter privateers narratives;
  • The training of journalists to report on human rights to water and to help disseminate a new narrative on public management of the water sector;
  • We do have alternatives to water privatization: Africa Must Rise and Resist Water privatization, 2021, CAPPA

The “Shifting Narratives” conference brings together a partnership of universities with international trade union confederations and social movements to build new narratives and power for changing and defining a new economic and social role of the public sector.

Read more about the conference here