P061 – Questions of Citizenship in Contexts of Survival: The Planning and Provision of Water Infrastructures in African Cities
8 July, 17:30 – 19:00

Schramm Sophie / TU Darmstadt
Appelhans Nadine / HCU Hamburg


The provision of urban services is deeply entrenched with broader questions of citizenship. According to the modern ideal, infrastructures are to provide reliable, ubiquitous, affordable, uniform and secure access to services for all citizens. Such service provision is often regarded as a precondition for urban citizenship itself. However, in African cities, infrastructures are instable, fragmented and contested to varying degrees. This observation has impacted circulating ideals of infrastructure planning and provision and the citizen’s role. The effect of interventions based on the existing fragmentation on sociospatial justice is questionable from a universal basic needs perspective. However, some scholars argue that planning epistemologies can acknowledge uncertainties and address them in a new understanding of localised planning with asset-based provision strategies. In the panel, we discuss these propositions of urban/planning theory concerning the access to services in African cities and the way they position and impact urban citizenship based on findings from practice in African cities. How do current approaches in the provision of urban basic services frame the role of citizens? How do respective planning procedures/ initiatives impact access of citizens to services and how does this impact citizenship? What are implications for infrastructure planning in African cities/ urban theories on infrastructure provision in the global South?

Les questions de citoyenneté en contexte de survie: planification et  aménagement d’infrastructures d’approvisionnement en eau dans les villes africaines
L’accès aux services urbains est étroitement lié aux questions de la citoyenneté. L’idéal moderne est de permettre à tous les citoyens, de bénéficier d’infrastructures de service, fiables, omniprésentes, économiquement abordables, égalitaires et sécurisées.  Cette prestation de service est souvent considérée comme une condition préalable à la citoyenneté urbaine, proprement dite. Cependant, dans les villes africaines, les infrastructures sont souvent instables, fragmentées et contestées à différentes échelles. Ce constat a influencé le discours sur la planification, l’accès aux infrastructures et le droit à la citoyenneté. Les réalisations fondées sur la disparité existante des services urbains sont remises en question parce qu’elles contredisent la perspective de besoins universels de base. Cependant, certains chercheurs approuvent le fait que, la planification puisse se caler sur la disparité et la fragmentation des services urbains existants, dans le cadre d’une nouvelle conception de la planification basée sur les conditions locales. Dans ce panel, nous discuterons ces propositions de théorie de planification urbaine, fondées sur des conclusions d’études de villes africaines, concernant l’accès à l’eau et la manière dont ces services se positionnent et impactent la citoyenneté urbaine. Comment les approches actuelles d’approvisionnement en services urbains de base conçoivent le rôle des citoyens? Comment ces procédures de planification influencent l’accès des citoyens aux services urbains et quels sont leurs impacts sur la citoyenneté? Quelles sont les conséquences pour des planifications d’infrastructurse dans les villes africaines /Celles pour les théories urbaines sur l’approvisionnement en infrastructures dans les pays du Sud ?

Paper 1

Shearer Samuel / Duke University

Win-Win Water: Making Hydraulic Futures in Kigali, Rwanda

In Kigali, Rwanda subterranean water technologies structure peoples’ daily lives and are a source of productive energy, political commentary, and competing visions of future space-times. In this paper, I examine the complex triad of mechanical, physical, and social infrastructures that make up Kigali’s hydraulic present and plans for its future. I argue that most Kigali residents access their water in spite of, not because of, the city’s hydraulic system, investing their own physical and imaginative energy to complete the municipal water grid. My purpose in exploring the “embedded strangeness” (Star 1999) of Kigali’s municipal water system is not to simply track the unequal distribution of this resource throughout the city. Rather than discovering a new form of insurgent or quotidian citizenship, I suggest that practices designed by Kigali residents to circumvent the city’s water shortage in the present are being anticipated as future resources of capital accumulation by municipal and international institutions. In examining these issues, I hope to contribute to a small but emergent body of literature in urban anthropology on hydraulic systems while linking science and technology studies influenced scholarship with Marxian perspectives on bodily labor and time.

Paper 2

Neves Alves Susana / University College London

Decentralised interventions: building water institutions from the bottom-up? Water governance in Bafatá, Guinea-Bissau

In 2006, the responsibility for the management of the water network of the city of Bafatá – second city of Guinea-Bissau – was granted to a local association. At the outset, this shift followed mainstream international policies. It entailed a change in the role of the state from provider to regulator accompanied by a de-investment in the sector, the adoption of cost-recovery principles and it was associated to an effort to promote user’s participation in infrastructure’s management. In this way, this shift might have contributed to the fragmentation of urban infrastructures and might have had profound impacts on notions of access to urban services and, consequently, urban citizenship.
On the other hand, a more nuanced analysis of the evolution of both infrastructures and institutions in the city unveils alternative narratives that do not completely replace the first one, but at least complement it. This paper draws on investigations of the routines and perceptions, namely understandings of the value of water, of water users in Bafatá to discuss how these have evolved in the past few years and the implications to notions of urban citizenship. Moreover, looking at the development of water institutions in Bafatá, this paper argues that narratives of fragmentation should be re-contextualised and framed within the local specificities of institutions and their histories. In this way, decentralised solutions, such as that of Bafatá, can emerge as also transformative possibilities.

Paper 3

Wamuchiru Elizabeth Kanini / TU Darmstadt

Beyond the networked city: the role of citizenship and grassroots agency in water and sanitation infrastructure provision in Chamazi settlement, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

This paper situates the role of active citizenship and grassroots agency in instigating changes in urban governance and transforming urban planning and infrastructure development processes at the local level. Using the case of the Chamazi water and sanitation project, the paper examines the role of community participation in provision of water and sanitation infrastructure in the peri-urban areas of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Employing active community participation, the Chamazi project features non-conventional models of water and sanitation infrastructure provision, design, technology, and innovative financing options, all tailor-made to meet the practical needs of the local community, who reside beyond the municipal water mains. The Chamazi case demonstrates an emerging form of infrastructure governance that seeks to enhance social justice and improve quality of life of formerly marginalised communities through principles of innovation and inclusiveness. The aim is to interrogate the efficacy of bottom-linked project design and situate the Chamazi model within the broader debates on citizenship and low-income water and sanitation infrastructure policies in Tanzania and the wider global South.

Paper 4

K’Akumu Owiti / University of Nairobi

Rich trust and no water for the urban poor: the case of Water Services Trust Fund in Kenya

Water Services Trust Fund (WSTF) is one of the reform institutions in the water sector formed by a trusts deed under the Water Act of 2002. The objective of the fund is to help finance water provision in areas of Kenya that are without adequate water services (Republic of Kenya, 2002). According to the Act, the activities of the fund are financed by an “exchequer.” Additional financing comes from donor institutions interested in the improvement of water services such as the Danish International Development Agency (Danida), German Development Agency (GTZ) and the German Development Bank (KfW), the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), European Union (EU), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). The fund has four main programs for water financing: Community Project Cycle (CPC) for rural water and sanitation projects, Urban Project Cycle (UPC) for urban and sanitation projects, Water Resources Users Association Development Cycle (WDC) for water resource projects and Output Based Aid (OBA) a micro-credit window within the World Bank and facilitated through K-Rep Bank). The UPC is intended for funding water and sanitation in the low-income urban areas. It has three main programs.

Paper 5

Ogunnaike Odunayo Peter / University of Ibadan

Challenges of water supply in colonial Ijebu

One of those social responsibilities that the Nigerian Colonial Government in its hey days deemed necessary was water supply. In doing this, several difficulties were faced by the Colonial Government. These challenges arose especially as the colonial personnel expected the scheme to be provided by internal efforts. This attitude not only laid the foundation for a poor water supply scheme in the area of study, it also contributed in the erratic supplies of water in Nigeria today. This paper attempts a historical analysis of the situation by using the then Ijebu Province of the old Western Region as a point of reference. The place of the Ijebu traditional political institutions in this affair is also examined. The paper concludes that both the colonial officials and the people of the area of study contributed in their own ways to the poor condition of water supply in Ijebuland.

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