30 November 2013

My New Name AMA Avidar

Shabbat shalom everyone,

Leaving Ghana tomorrow, but before I leave I must write you.
Avi, Freimpong (Patrick's friend, Patrick is our wonderful business partner in Ghana) and myself are celebrating Shabbat with a beer ( club beer – similar to light Belgien beer which I really like) at the poolside of the Erata Hotel in Accra (marvelous wifi- my obsession in Africa), listening to a live band singing Bob Marley – "I want to love you"

So where were we in the last 2 days, or where were we not….. we traveled from Accra to Tarkwa, to Kumasi (the largest city in Ghana) to Bogoso and then Briem North (rural area) and back to Accra. Except for one flight we drove most of the way, or rather Patrick our partner was kind enough to drive, around 4-5 hours from each destination to the next, it was quite a hard trip, with terrible roads.
Patrick a Ghanaian business man from the Ashanti area, that made it on his own, by identifying a need and finding the solutions for it. Good on you Patrick!!!!

We met and visited several mining companies and the funny thing is that right before each mine compound the road is awful, due to political issues of who is in charge of the road and who should construct it and in the end, no one does and we get to feel the experience in our aching bones. But for all purposes the way was worth it, we had some good meetings, got to understand the challenges of the mining areas and the villages surrounding them. We also met honoranble Paul the head of the district, who shared with us some of the challenges he faces and once again we trully hope we can bring some greta solutions to the area and change a challenge into a solution.

Our intention is to bring some good rural development platforms (our VIC model- the village income center, which we have developed in Nkuv, if you remember from April) .

So what about the name, Ama means born on Saturday, in Ghana people get the name of the day they were born in, there are 7 names for men and 7 for women, I was born on Saturday, therefore AMA Avidar. By the way, Kofi (Anan) is a Friday born.

Write you soon, tomorrow flying to Cameroon - for the last leg of the race.....

 the poolside band
 eating cocanut
 eating again at mining compay, looks like a kibbutz dinning room
 the hotel room at Tarkwa, - longji hotel, the new chinese hotel, beautiful rooms, good service decent price and everything imported from China
 some beaitiful scienery on the road
 Patrick, and Kofi a leading reporter in Ghana
the artisine miners, mining without a license and no regulatroy control, they threw mud at us for taking their picture

25 November 2013

WSA staff meeting

Around 100 staff members of WSA out of 344 convened on Sunday the 24th November to discuss: organization communication strategy; WSA soft power and what this entails; conclusions from the HLF and how to do it better next year; how to take forward the accomplishments of the 2013 HLF and innovative financing – the key to successfully bringing water for all.

First of all it was a great pleasure and honor for me to be included within these activities, thus being part of the WSA's way forward.

Second it was declared that Israel will be the special guest of the HLF 2014 in Cameroon, once again this is a great honor, a great responsibility and a tremendous opportunity for Israeli companies.

This is the first call for Israeli water, sanitation and housing companies to attend the forum in November 2014. If we signed 6 LOIs this year I wonder how many will be signed next……

the beautiful view from my room

the ladies of WSA 

Just a few sentences about innovative financing, as financing is one of the main challenges for water projects in Africa, it is imperative that WSA find those alternative and innovative products and schemes. The thing is, that it is within ourselves, once we define why water projects are especially vulnerable and are not allocated funds, this is where we can define the solutions, because there is no one challenge which cannot be solved. For instance if one challenge that water is considered god given and should be free – you can understand that we should not charge for water but rather for supply, or better services or, avoidance of health issues and much more. This is just one out of 14 which we have voiced. 

The High Level Forum for Water in Africa, - HLF - Abidjan Nov 2013

My dear friends,

The forum started on the 21st and I could not find a moment to write until this moment, it is 21:00 Sunday night the 24th.

2000 participated in the activities. On the agenda, ministers council meeting, a conference, exhibition and B2G meetings. Check out the website hlf.wsafrica.org
International companies came from India, China, Germany, turkey and Israel.

It has only been 1 month from the WATECH conference where Waterways was appointed as Israel country representative of WSA – www.wsafrica.org and the 21st office of WSA.
And within this short period we have been able to bring 5 companies to the HLF and facilitate the signing of 6 LOIs with Senegal, Benin, Liberia, Ivory Coast, and 3 expected next month.

The idea is creating solid PPP WASH (Water, sanitation and Hygiene) projects in Africa via, a win-win mediation mechanisms, in which WSA assists the private companies to manage cooperation with African governments. The work has begun with these 6 LOIs and now our job is to make them happen for the betterment of the African people.

theconference hall from the outside
from the inside, Tahal delegation members, Lior frumkes and Max Barel

the diffrent chieftens, in their Marvelous and colorful custumes.
after signing the LOI with the water minister of Senegal

Group picture!!!

20 November 2013

First time is Cote D'Ivoire

Ivory Coast or Cote D'Ivoire, as the locals prefer, is quite different than other African countries I have visited, at least on a first impression. Entering the city in 12oclock at night, the roads were quite spacious; there were quite a lot of city light and city neon advertising like in of most big cities.

Since we are coming for the conference, more details below, we got the VIP treatment, all conference participants, were taken to the VIP lounge, where our immigration process, visa at the airport and luggage was taken care of and then off to the hotel. This makes everything very easy, although we laughed because it took twice as much time, as it would have if we were to do it on our own, but the convenience was worth it. Entering our hotel, was again an experience, I am usually used to 3-4  star hotels in Africa which are tremendously expensive and very poorly maintained, but here this is not the case. But, thank god for conferences, you get to stay at good hotels. The Sophitel Ivoire is quite a grand hotel. with great wifi connection!!

Our conference is the African High Level Water Forum - http://hlf.wsafrica.org , between the 21-23, that convenes once a year in a different country in Africa. This year it is in Abidjan, and 32 water ministers will be meeting for discussions on water issues. People are coming from China, Germany, Turkey, Malaysia, Singapore, India and Israel. Israel will have quite a substantial delegation of 5 companies, since we had about 3 weeks to organize for this, I would say it is pretty good. Next year the forum will be in Cameroon and I hope to bring a much larger delegation.
I say to bring, because WSA is the organizer of the forum and we as their Israeli representative are responsible for this issue. We (the delegation) hope to sign quite a number of LOI between companies and ministers.

More updates tomorrow it is quite late already, and I am after a travel of over 12 hours.