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SPIEF 2024: Russia to help Africa monitor water resources

Moscow says its experience could prove useful to African nations facing water shortages

Russia is prepared to share its expertise in groundwater level monitoring with African nations facing water scarcity, the head of Russia’s Federal Agency for Mineral Resources said on Thursday. 

Speaking at a ‘Water is more precious than gold’ conference during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Evgeny Petrov said: “We have a history of more than 30 years of monitoring all groundwater in our country … We have valuable experience to share with our African colleagues, especially since there are countries with significant water shortages, relying heavily on groundwater supplies.”

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Patrushev also addressed the event, saying the gap between global clean drinking water supply and demand could reach 40% by 2030 if effective measures are not implemented.

“This is why it is crucial to develop effective water resource management systems,” he explained. 

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The Guinea-Bissau natural resources minister, Malam Sambu, also emphasized the importance of water management in avoiding international conflicts.

African nations as a whole have seen a slight improvement in water availability in recent years, with an average of 70% of the population having access to a basic supply, although a lack of water safe for consumption remains a widespread problem. 

According to estimates from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), only 19% of people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 12.6% in Ethiopia, 6.2% in the Central African Republic (CAR), and 5.6% in Chad have access to safe water. In the Republic of the Congo, the figure is 46% – one of the highest in the region.

Also at the conference, the Russian minister of natural resources, Alexander Kozlov, announced a plan to conclude agreements with Botswana, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tunisia on water management.

Moscow has “already signed memorandums to establish systematic cooperation with Algeria, Morocco, Zimbabwe, and South Africa … Russia is open to collaboration,” Kozlov said.

He noted that Russia has managed to develop an integrated water management system that considers both socio-economic interests and environmental factors.

June 06, 2024 at 06:25PM
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