A series of events focused on bringing Israeli water companies to developing markets in Asia, creating cooperations with the French water industry, and on bringing the OECD to WATEC. An interview with Yossi Yaacoby.
Israel’s well-known accomplishments in the water sector make the Israeli water sector a promising supplier of technologies to nations suffering from water shortages. But what is the most effective way to reach these markets? Israel NewTech and the Foreign Trade Administration know the OECD is a key channel to bringing Israeli water technologies, far beyond Europe, to Asia and developing markets.
To this end, Israel NewTech and the Economic Offices to the OECD and France held a series of events earlier this month in Paris.
Israel hosted a lunch at the EMnet (OECD Emerging Markets Network) event in Paris. The event was attended by several dozen representatives from the private sector, as well as representatives from a number of developing countries. Israel’s envoy to the OECD, UNESCO and the European Council Carmel Shama-Hacohen spoke at the lunch. A presentation on Israel’s water learnings and their relevancy to Asia was given by Yossi Yaacoby, Director of WaTech® at Israel’s national water utility Mekorot. We spoke with Yaacoby to get the inside track on the events:
“There was a lot to present at the lunch, and a number of Israeli companies are operating very successfully already in Asia,” explains Yaacoby. “Examples of this include Netafim, which is active in irrigation projects in India in the scope of tens of millions of dollars, Arad which supplies extensive metering solutions in China and India, Aqwise which is active in water puirification in India, Amiad which provides filtration & pre treatment deslaniation solutions throughout Asia and more.” One of the objectives of the presentation was to advance and deepen even further the activity of these and other Israeli water technology companies in Asia.
According to Yaacoby, nations in Europe and Asia are eager to learn from the Israeli case study, especially in areas such as innovation and excellence, and tariffs. “The issue of water tarrifs is a pressing one in Asia, and there is pressure on utililties and governments to lower water tarrifs. Certainly innovation – such as metering, water efficiency and improved billing – can lower water costs – and Israeli companies are world leaders in such solutions. But there is also an important psychological shift that needs to occur, from viewing water as something to take for granted, to understanding that it is a commodity that has a monetary value. This shift has occurred in Israel and needs to take place in developing nations as well.”
Beyond the OECD event, a day of meetings took place with leading French water companies, such as international infrastructure giant Suez Environnement, and Sogedo, France’s 4th largest water supplier, as well as water utitilies, notably, Eau de Paris and professional water clusters from Orléans (south of Paris) and Strasbourg. In addition, a meeting was held with the Paris Greater Metropolitan Area Development and Investment Agencies. Mr. Yaacoby invited his counterparts – companies, agencies and clusters – to attend WATEC and discussed with them possible channels of cooperation in R&D and in locating interesting commercial partners and technologies in Israel. The meeting was led by Israel’s Commercial representative in France Leora Hadar and Yossi Yaacoby.
A more intimate, but no less important, event took place between Yaacoby and Israel’s Economic Officer to the OECD Rita Golstein-Galperin, and Dr. Aziza Akhmouch, Head of the Water Governance Programme at the OECD. “Our objective at the meeting was to convince Dr. Akhmouch of the value of sending a substancial OECD delegation to the upcoming WATEC international conference and exhibition in Tel Aviv this coming October. Considering Israel’s leadership position in the world’s water industry, we’re confident this WATEC will be an important international event, and it is important that the OECD be there,” concludes Yaacoby.