In 2014, our longtime allies at Environmental Rights Action, Nigeria (ERA) raised the specter of an impending water privatization scheme backed by the World Bank in Lagos. Together, we launched into action to prevent a project that would likely lead to sky-high water rates, shutoffs for those who could not pay, and worker layoffs.
ERA built a powerful grassroots movement in Lagos to oppose water privatization, led by women, labor, and social-justice groups. In the U.S., we organized hundreds of Corporate Accountability International members to put direct pressure on World Bank decision-makers.
In response, the World Bank first walked away from an advisory contract with the Lagos government. Then, it completely abandoned its efforts to secure a public-private partnership contract as part of its ongoing loan in Lagos.
This dealt a major blow to global water corporations and to privatization proponents in Lagos. And, it provides tremendous momentum to the campaign to bring adequate public funding for a democratically controlled water system in Lagos.