The Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) company launched its inaugural Water, Sanitation, Hygiene and Energy (WASHEN) 2014 expo in Bulawayo with a call for investments in the water sector to avert an impending global disaster.
BY MUSA DUBE
ZITF Chairman Bekithemba Nkomo said the global population was growing and there was need to invest in the water sector and augment the changes in the population size.
“As global populations continue to grow, the impact of water scarcity will soon be acutely felt in our natural environment,” said Nkomo. “This has the potential to significantly impact global health, severely challenge agricultural production, limit industrial growth and most importantly, become a cause of conflicts among communities and nations.
“Consequently, the development of innovative water infrastructure and technology that optimise and address the interdependence of water and energy will become increasingly important.”
He said the water and energy systems are connected in some obvious ways, along with many subtle links.
“It is essential to understand how these critical resources are interlinked and how they impact on each other,” said Nkomo.
Most cities in the country especially Harare and Bulawayo, are grappling with a critical water shortage where residents sometimes go for days without the precious liquid.
“On the other hand, climate change and the need to manage diminishing fossil fuel reserves are, today, two of the biggest challenges facing the planet and it is widely accepted that we must act now to reduce energy consumption and substantially cut greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide.”
He said they were impressed by the expo, held under the theme, Innovative Solutions for Sustainable Development, after it managed to attract about 30 exhibitors.
“We are excited about the latest addition to our stable of brands. The aim of the event is to provide a relevant platform to showcase best practice and a forum to discuss topical issues in water, sanitation, hygiene and energy,” said Nkomo.
“The theme is reflective of the fact that access to clean water, adequate sanitation and hygiene as well as sustainable management are a pre-requisite for growing economy”.
The two-day WASHen expo attracted the business community, industry, civic society leaders and policy makers.
The launch of the WASHen expo brings to six the number of sector specific exhibitions that the trade fair company organisers host.
The sector specific exhibitions under the trade fair include Mine Entra, A’Sambeni Africa Bus Tourism, Travel Expo and Pak Print.