Drinking water is lacking – why clean water is an Africa challenge, by Kingsley Ekwueme, GrowExpress Ldt. and Africa expert.
Republic of Zimbabwe – a landlocked country in the southern part of Africa. Crises and mismanagement are hampering the development of the once well-organized state.
After several economic crises in the last decade, the current water and sanitation situation in Zimbabwe faces numerous challenges. The lack of technical capacity due to, among other things, the exodus of trained technical staff or external expertise, as well as widespread mismanagement in the sector, result in high water losses, lack of maintenance, deterioration of raw water and general service delivery. At the same time, the lack of sanitation and waste management contaminates raw water sources, which repeatedly leads to the spread of waterborne diseases, as in the case of the cholera epidemic in 2008/2009.
Less than half the people have access to clean drinking water
Currently, only an average of 43 percent of the population has access to clean drinking water.
Most of the population lives in rural areas with only 30 percent drinking water supply. Power outages, pipe leaks and poor management make access to piped water erratic. People without potable water supplies draw water from shallow wells, boreholes, or surface water, which is undrinkable without prior treatment; at the same time, water treatment is extremely limited. Zimbabwe’s water supply depends heavily on surface water. Climate change has a decisive influence on its availability and thus also on food security. According to the forecast of the „German Foundation for World Population“, the population of Zimbabwe, for example, will grow to 22 million people by 2030 and to 33 million people by 2050, which will exacerbate Zimbabwe’s challenges, but these challenges also apply to many other countries on the continent.
Consequences and aid measures
Germany is working to help. In its Second National Action Plan (NAP) 2019-2021, the German government has committed to strengthening transparency, participation, and collaboration through open governance as part of Germany’s participation in the Open Government Partnership (OGP). For German development policy, the guiding principle of transparency is an important prerequisite for effective development cooperation (DC). The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development also emphasizes the importance of transparency in DC. Disclosing the use of funds and cash flows makes German DC more predictable and comprehensible for its development partners. Transparent action can increase ownership by partner governments and strengthen coordination between donors and recipients.
Co-manager and Founder Thomas Wegener from Berlin comments: „The situation in African countries is diverse; anyone who, like me, has opened up markets and built up companies in different countries in Africa knows that a blanket approach is not appropriate. For example, in Nigeria, a country where we operate a model agricultural estate, we have a lot of water pollution from the oil industry.“
Water sector in dire need of investment
Nigeria’s water sector is in urgent need of investment to address widespread pollution and water poverty and improve access to sanitation.
Additional opportunities may arise here as the government plans to ensure universal access to potable water for all Nigerians by 2030, as well as end open defecation by 2025. The investment is projected at US$11-20 billion.
In addition to its own funds and those of donor institutions, Nigeria would also like to rely increasingly on private-sector cooperation. These PPP projects (Private-Public-Partnerships) and so-called green bonds will help.
Currently, a brackish water desalination plant with a daily capacity of 200,000m³ is being built in Lekki (Lagos) under a PPP agreement. Again, the technical partners are European companies, which will operate it for 25 years.
Water is the basis for clean agriculture
As Nigeria is federally structured, GrowExpress can also make its contribution in the company’s state of OYO. Here, first projects have been implemented such as the cleaning of the adjacent river structures, renewal of the local water and sanitary facilities.
These are also the prerequisite for a clean agricultural work from the beginning on the green model farms of GrowExpress and as the basic supply for the local farmers and the local production of pure basic materials for food and drug production.
And more future engagements are also planned, because the market for bottling water, production of drinking water pouches and general beverage bottling is growing rapidly due to steady population growth and urbanization. The growing market volume for table water is estimated at US$ 3.2 billion this year alone.
The future goal is to create, together with the local consumers, a closed loop economy, which produces and processes water in a resource-saving way, and to put the used plastic containers to further use through consistent recycling.
Responsible in terms of the press law:
Managing Director – GrowExpress Ltd.
Cocoa House, Dugbe
The GrowExpress Ltd. Office is in Nigeria, Cocoa House, Dugbe, 200263 Ibadan. The Cocoa House, completed in 1965 at a height of 105 meters, was once the tallest building in Nigeria and the first skyscraper in West Africa. It is located in Dugbe, one of the main commercial parks in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. GrowExpress Ltd. cultivates an estate of 800 hectares about 200 km north of the megacity of Lagos in Nigeria. Further information at: https://growexpress.org