Trading Water and Resource Accessibility Conventions. The case of Sub-Saharian Africa(n) Metropolis (cities?) (In French)
The issue of the accessibility to drinking water in large Sub-Saharian African Metropolis reveals the emergence of new conventions and new perceptions related to this resource. The current context shows an increasing number of actors. Since the 90’s, new norms are required to guide public-private partnerships engaged in redefining structural adjustment programs and in implementing a good governance. Moreover , Water can be considered as a primary resource but also as a public service and therefore induces new questionings about the link between efficacy and equity. Within an Economics of Convention approach it is possible to depart from traditional analysis based on economic efficacy as a central principle. By considering an approach beyond one in terms of strategic conventions our assumption is that a convention is based on an evaluation model and on behavioral rules. With this distinction it then possible to define four types of conventions that we call “human right”, “community”, “general interest”, “trade”. These constitute archetypes allowing the analysis of historical evolution of conventions and their interactions in Sub-Saharian African cities. Instead of simply identifying behavioral rules (state-owned company, delegation of public utilities, customery rules) our aim is to detect the underlying interpretation model. This is important because, in the end, the link between efficacy and equity is closely dependant on it. Thus, Economics of Conventions can highlight that beyond the “trading” principle other evaluation schemes exist and that the choice of a given principle stems from political choices. The issue of links between economics and politics is therefore of major importance in such a field.
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