Dutch firms pledge to invest in water sector

Business Editor
Several Dutch companies expressed interest to invest in Zimbabwe’s water sector following discussions between the two countries during a study tour of the European country’s water sector last week. The Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands last week funded a learning mission, which was led by the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate. The mission’s aim was to exchange information about the organisation and commercialisation of the water sector and establishing linkages with the Dutch water sector.

“The purpose of the study was to create business opportunities in Zimbabwe for the Dutch drinking water sector at the same time strengthening the Zimbabwean drinking water business development,” read part of the overview of preliminary results report from the Study Tour compiled by water expert Wim Klaassen.

The idea of a drinking water study was initiated in 2014 when Minister Saviour Kasukuwere was in charge of the Ministry of Environment, Water and Climate. A needs assessment report was carried out by Mr Klaassen and former Zimbabwe National Water Authority chief executive Albert Muyambo.

The report identified the major needs for various stakeholders on managing drinking water supply services in Zimbabwe, with a view of what Netherlands could provide in terms of knowledge, capacity building and management services. The Netherlands is acclaimed for its efficient and profitable water industry.

There were several areas of need that were highlighted in the report and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation- IHE expressed interest in almost every aspect of the water sector.

The world acclaimed institute (UNESCO-IHE) and Delft-NL of Netherlands expressed interest in assisting in the formulation of a study of options for the design of an external regulator and in the capacity development of the Institute of Water and Sanitation Development.

UNESCO IHE, Delft-NL, WaterNet, Amsterdam-NL, Vitens Evides International, Utrecht-NL, Royal Haskoning DHV, Amersfoort-NL expressed interest in playing a role in capacity development within the Ministry of Environment Water and Climate and ZINWA. EuroConsult-MottMacDonald, Arnhem-NL also showed interest to assist Zimbabwe’s water sector.

UNESCO IHE, Delft-NL will support the Zimbabwe UNESCO-IHE Alumni association. “Interest was also expressed in operational capacity development, improved water treatment, infrastructure development and reticulation, waste water treatment and re-use of primary treated waste water for irrigation,” read the report.

The report said the purpose of the mission will be best achieved if Dutch and Zimbabwean water sector actors collaborate on a long term basis. The strategies of collaboration will ensure added value for both water sectors and their respective actors, where possible long term working relationships exist.

According to the needs assessment report, the two parties recommended the drafting of water and wastewater regulatory framework; organisational restructuring and capacity development of the Zimbabwe National Water Authority, organisational development at utilities level, operations management, tariffs, billing and payment arrangements, upgrading the unaccounted-for water menace, planning/utility benchmarking and operational monitoring, procurement, human resources capacity development, supply of water and waste water treatment chemicals and a wide range of hardware, projects funded by the African Development Bank and other international financial institutions.

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