WINDHOEK: The first-ever Water Investment Conference organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry kicked off here on Wednesday with a call for public-private partnerships.
At the opening of the conference, Agriculture, Water and Forestry Minister John Mutorwa said the investment pattern in the Namibian water sector is skewed since it falls heavily on the government.
“Therefore, there is more room for private sector intervention in the area of service and trade, which will lead to the creation of jobs, and local manufacturing of equipment and spares. This goes hand-in-hand with the reduction of costs involved in importing,” he noted.
At the same occasion, President Hifikepunye Pohamba said in a speech read on his behalf by Mutorwa that Government looks forward to concrete outcomes and recommendations that will contribute to its efforts to improve the provision of water to the people, as well as the availability of water for agricultural and industrial purposes.
The conference will focus on investments in water supply and sanitation infrastructural development and technology; the management of water supply and sanitation services; water for economic development; water resources’ management; public/private partnerships; and capacity-building.
Other topics under discussions include an overview of the water and sanitation situation in Namibia; role of the water sector towards achieving sustained economic growth during the Fourth National Development Plan (NDP4) period; the national financial commitment to water and sanitation services in Namibia; securing investment for the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Regional Strategic Action Plan III; small-scale solar-driven desalination in Namibia; and a synopsis of skills’ availability and development in the water sector.
Close to 20 exhibitors will showcase their products during the event, and include Aqua Services and Engineering; Cuve Waters; Hybrid United Metering Systems; Analytical Technology and Chemical Supply; Rössing Uranium Mine; Areva Resources’ mine; Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources; and Envirosan Sanitation Solutions.
The major demand on water resources are either in urban centres, or agriculture in both the communal and commercial farming areas. According to the conference guide, the provision of adequate and appropriate sanitation facilities with the aim to minimise groundwater contamination, together with waste water treatment technologies, are also major contributors to business opportunities in the sector.
The conference ends Friday.