State Secretary Mansveld and South Africa sign water agreement
On Friday 22 November, State Secretary Mansveld of Infrastructure & the Environment and the South African Minister for Water and Environmental Affairs Minister, Edna Molewa, signed an agreement on closer cooperation between the two countries in the fields of drinking water, wastewater treatment, irrigation, sanitation, water management and flood defences. The aim is to strengthen ties and promote access to the market for Dutch companies. South Africa will be able to benefit from Dutch knowledge and knowhow.
Ms Mansveld met with the South African minister during the UN climate summit in Warsaw: “South Africa is one of the top-10 countries for the Netherlands in terms of opportunities for the Dutch water technology and maritime sectors. Currently, local parties can sometimes be reluctant to enter into concrete partnerships due to the absence of an official political framework. Through this agreement, we are strengthening our relations and opening doors for Dutch companies.”
South Africa offers Dutch entrepreneurs many opportunities. To meet growing demand and legal obligations, Minister Molewa estimates that South Africa will have to double its investments in the water sector to 56 million euros in the coming ten years. The country is particularly interested in the Netherlands’ high-quality, innovative water technology. Knowledge of water management is welcomed too, by both the government and the South African business community.
Alongside Dutch water boards and drinking-water companies that have traditionally been active in South Africa, Dutch companies are also making inroads in the fields of wastewater treatment and irrigation. On several occasions, the South African Department of Water Affairs (DWA) had shown interest in concluding an agreement to establish a political framework for cooperation. The Netherlands is currently investing over 56 million euros in infrastructure projects involving water (through ORIO, the Facility for Infrastructure Development). Together with local funding the amount comes to 158 million euros. In addition, the Netherlands is contributing Dutch water technology in various demonstration projects. The Dutch Embassy in Pretoria recently had market research performed into the water sector and is actively negotiating on behalf of Dutch companies that want to enter the South African market.