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Water crucial to development projects

Hilifa Mbako, Areva’s Country Manager, Alain L’Hour, Managing Director of Areva Resources Namibia and Paulinus Shilamba, Managing Director of Nampower sampling desalinated water from Areva’s desalination plant in the Erongo Region. (Photograph by Hilma Hashange)

Hilifa Mbako, Areva’s Country Manager, Alain L’Hour, Managing Director of Areva Resources Namibia and Paulinus Shilamba, Managing Director of Nampower sampling desalinated water from Areva’s desalination plant in the Erongo Region. (Photograph by Hilma Hashange)

According to President Hifikepunye Pohamba, water is fundamental to all social and economic activities in the country and elsewhere in the world. The head of state stated that most of the country’s economic activities are dependent on a natural resources base such as mining, agriculture, pastoralism, fishing and tourism.
“Water is therefore the most important contributor to the country’s development prospects across the board. Its vulnerability and scarcity can be a constraint to development,” he said. Pohamba, whose speech was delivered by Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry on his behalf at the Water Investment Conference earlier this week, outlined the overall strategic objectives to be achieved in Vision 2030 and the National Development Plans. A key requirement is to ensure the availability of safe water for human needs and economic development, while maintaining natural wetlands and aquatic biodiversity.
The President however noted that government has made notable efforts since independence to develop water infrastructure across the country, adding that so far most Namibians in urban and rural areas have access to safe drinking water as a basic human need to support a healthy and productive life. Alternative measures such as desalination of sea water have also been considered, according to the President, referring to the water desalination plant that is now fully operational and provides water to a number of mines in Erongo Region. He added that investments are still required to meet the national development goals, objectives and strategies.
The three day Namibia Water Investment Conference, a first of its kind in the country, started on Wednesday, 12 September and ends this Friday. The conference has brought together consumers, service providers, manufacturers of various parts, spares and chemicals used in the water sector as well as financiers and investors to promote investment opportunities for the water sector.
The conference attracted well over 20 exhibitors, both local and international with more than 300 delegates from across the world attending.
The conference is organised by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry in collaboration with the Namibia Water Corporation (NamWater), as a platform to collectively address the increasing demand and pressure on water resources and sanitation facilities. The skills shortage in the water and sanitation sector as well as the need to embark upon research, development and innovation will also be addressed.
Six themes have been identified to guide the proceedings of the conference to ensure that all aspects of the value chain have been adequately dealt with. The six themes are investment in water supply and sanitation infrastructure, management of water supply and sanitation services, water for economic development, water resource management and public private partnership and capacity building. Expert presenters are sharing their expertise and knowledge with the delegates on the different themes.
The outcomes of the conference are to be presented on the last day of the conference by Abraham Nehemia, Under-Sectertary at the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry in the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry.

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