Peter Woicke

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In an article written for the International Herald Tribune, Peter Woicke writes, “There is a need to double the rate of investment in water and sanitation alone over the next decade, to about $30 billion per year, from a combination of public and private investors.” He goes on to argue, “Access to water should be considered a human right. But most of this progress in addressing this challenge will be achieved through more practical and less ideological means” [1]. Years later, in an excerpt taken from the documentary “Thirst”, speaking at a conference Woicke suggests, “Somebody has to pay for water, ladies and gentlemen. Whether it’s the users of the future generations, that is the reality”[2].

In 2004 Kofi Annan appointed Peter Woicke to the newly establish UN Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation. As a fierce advocate for the privatisation of water services and having held many senior posts in international business and development sectors over the past 30 years Woicke has had a significant influence on the landscape of the private water market. As a managing director of the World Bank, a position he held from 1999-2005, he vehemently promoted the Bank’s position that water privatization be a condition for receiving the Bank’s resources [3]. In addition to his role as a managing director of the World Bank Woicke was the former CEO of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) (1999-2005) – the private sector arm of the World Bank and the largest multilateral provider of loans and equity to the private sector [4]. The IFC recommends that Third World loan recipients hand over public water utilities to the private sector whilst actively encouraging investors to invest in private sectors in these economies [5].

Woicke has held numerous influential private sector positions including chairperson of J.P Morgan Securities Asia and member of executive management group and board member of Anglo American – one of the world’s largest mining and natural resources groups, as well as board member of Plugpower Inc., Saudi Aramco, Raiffeisen International Holding and MTN Group[6][7][8].


  1. Peter Woicke International Herald Tribune Tuesday March 18 2003 accessed 27 October 2008.
  2. Democracy Now World Water Day 2005: Water Privatization in Stockton and Detroit, accessed 27 October 2008.
  3. BBC World Bank Wants Green Growth Thursday 22 August 2002, accessed 27 October 2008.
  4. Anglo American Leadership accessed 27 October 2008.
  5. Maude Barlow (2007) ‘The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle For the Right To Water’, Toronto: McClelland & Stewart Ltd., p.40.
  6. About IFC, accessed 27 October 2008.
  7. Anglo American Home, accessed 27 October 2008.
  8. Anglo American Leadership Team, accessed 27 October 2008.