Water and sanitation have not yet received adequate investor attention in Africa, arguably because they’ve been branded as social services, according to a report in AfricanBrains.
The industries have been subject to strict governmental controls that limited business interest and led to over-reliance on government investment and charity, the report said.
About 400 million people living in Africa lack access to clean drinking water, while more than 600 million lack basic sanitation services, AfricanBrains reports. Several million children die from preventable water and sanitation-related illnesses every year.
In Nigeria and Ethiopia, about 97,000 and 33,000 children respectively die every year of diarrhea caused by poor drinking water and sanitation. Countries with larger economies in Africa including South Africa, Ghana, Sudan and Angola still lose thousands of children every year through water and sanitation-related illnesses.
This realization has triggered the call for a shift in the development orientation for Africa’s water and sanitation sector from socialist focused to the inclusion of more economic and financial models.
Stakeholders and investors interested in African water and sanitation will convene Nov. 21-23 in Côte d’Ivoire for the 2013 High Level Forum High Level Forum on Water and Sanitation in Africa. The forum provides a platform for exploring business opportunities with potential partners from India, China, Turkey, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore, Brazil, Taiwan and Japan. African investors can also explore opportunities outside the continent.
The event is organized by Water and Sanitation for Africa in collaboration with the government of Côte d’Ivoire in Abidjan. Sessions include a panel with heads of states in Africa and finance ministers and direct access to an estimated 25 governments for closer business discussions. There are also opportunities for one-on-one meetings.