euWater4i-SD exploratory mission to Kenya
From November 28th to December 2nd 2022, the euWater4i-SD exploratory mission to Kenya took place as planned.
The project aims to support EU SMEs to go international in Latin America and Eastern Africa. Kenya is one of the target countries. euWater4i-SD started in September 2021 and for one year several analyses were carried out, which served as a basis for the consortium's joint internationalization strategy. As a next step, two exploratory missions were organized to engage with potential partners in the field: one in Peru and the other in Kenya.
The main objective of these two missions was to prepare the future actions of the euWater4i-SD project. The goal was to learn more about local water policies, regulations and priorities, identify and meet relevant water partners for European SMEs and hopefully start identifying potential business opportunities for them. It was also a first step in planning the trade missions that will take place with selected EU SMEs in 2023.
During the mission in Nairobi, CREA Hydro&Energy (Czech partner), Ecoliance (German partner) and Green Synergy Cluster (Bulgarian partner) took part in a seminar on Decentralized Renewable Energy Solutions in East Africa organised by the French Embassy, conducted four different meetings and attended the EAWATERS – 7thEast Africa Water Summit for three days.
Kenya is a Eastern African country with a lot of potential. The government has made access to water and energy a priority in a country where the water coverage is at 60% and the sanitation coverage at 29%. Climate change is a very present topic, as Kenya regularly suffers from important droughts and floods.
The partners were able to meet with Margaret Maina, Managing Director of Limuru Water and Sewerage Co. Ltd, and Fred Mwango, Regional Water Expert from the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Kenya tends to be decentralized with 47 counties and as many Water Service Provisions. Many places are rural areas with no connection to the grid. This is why off-grid solutions like mini grids and solarized boreholes (water pumping systems) are favoured. They must be reliable, sustainable and affordable solutions.
A meeting with the Czech embassy in Nairobi also showed that Kenya is a well-developed Eastern African country with a strong European representation. The Czech Embassy cooperates with the French and German Embassies in particular and would be ready to support euWater4i-SD in answering tenders, finding partners and implementing projects.
Ecoliance, CREA Hydro&Energy and Green Synergy Cluster also had the opportunity to meet with KSB SE & Co. KGaA, a member from Ecoliance RLP e.V. and world-renowned pump and valve manufacturer. Ian Black, regional manager for East and Central Africa, and Stephen Anaya, sales manager for East Africa, tempered the partners' enthusiasm by showing that competition is fierce in Kenya. Massive investments are being made by China and India, which are well established in the market and can offer very attractive prices - unlike their European counterparts. A European SME that wants to enter the Kenyan market must think long-term and not just offer a product but a complete solution. European companies need to be reachable for their customers and sell a range of services that go with their product.
A meeting at the Kenya Water Institute (Kewi) was as well organised with its representatives: Eric Wamiti, Leonard Makokha and Beatrice Langat. The Institute offers training, administers examinations and conducts research and consultancy services in the wider water sector. With about 2000 students spread over four campuses (750 in Nairobi), the Institute provides diplomas and certificates in areas such as Water Engineering and Water Resources Technology and Management. The Kewi already has many international partnerships and would be open to cooperation in research areas such as sanitation and wastewater pollution, which is a major issue in Kenya. The Institute is looking for partners from industry who can bring a practical perspective to the research projects.
Finally, the partners took part in the EAWATERS – 7thEast Africa Water Summit between November 29th and December 2nd, also at the Kenya Water Institute. Many topics were discussed such as the climate change and energy in water sector, the governance and institutional frameworks for the water sector and the financing instruments for water projects. The networking times and a little exhibition allowed the partners to meet several major companies for water in Kenya: Davis & Shirtliff, Doshi Water, Kipya Africa, Turn-O-Metal Engineers and WILO. An exchange also took place with representatives of the Water Service Providers Assocation (WASPA) and the Kenya Water Industry Association (KWIA), which is expected to lead to cooperation with euWater4i-SD. The partners also had the chance to have lunch with a representative of the Ministry of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, Stepehen Njung'e Kihu, who showed much interest about the project.
The mission was overall a success, and the euWater4i-SD partners are very grateful for all the support they received. Next step is the implementation of concrete actions towards SMEs, e.g. the trade mission to Eastern Africa in summer 2023, but also matchmaking events, training sessions with experts and market factsheets.