Côte d’Ivoire: 17 drinking water supply systems to provide nearly 50,000 rural people with drinking water
Picture caption: Ivorian woman drawing water from a standpipe supplied by a drinking water supply systems set up by VERGNET HYDRO, in association with the SME MTK SERVICES, as part of the HYDRAULIC AND SANITATION PROGRAMME FOR THE MILLENNIUM (PHAM) in 2017.
VERGNET HYDRO is developing its construction work expertise
Côte d’Ivoire’s National Board for Drinking Water (ONEP) has awarded a contract for the construction of 17 drinking water supply systems to a joint venture of two SMEs: ABEDA (Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire) which will lead the project and VERGNET HYDRO. The contract will supply drinking water to nearly 50,000 rural people in the north of Côte d’Ivoire. “VERGNET HYDRO’s role in this is not limited to the design, supply and installation of the systems. Through our subsidiary SAHER (Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire), we will also carry out a part of the construction work. We intend to develop this expertise for future projects,” says Thierry BARBOTTE, Managing Director of VERGNET HYDRO.
The contract is for the construction of 12 electrical drinking water supply systems and five hybrid systems, either solar/electric or solar/thermal, in the Tchologo, Poro, Bagoué, Kabadougou and Folon regions. “The five solar farms will generate power of between 4 and 7 kWp, with Total Dynamic Heads of between 60 and 110 m,” explains Joël MENAGER, Bids and Projects Officer for VERGNET HYDRO.
A budget of 2.8 billion CFA francs (4.3 million euros)
“We expect all supply systems to be operational by December 2020, as stipulated in the specifications we were given,” adds Baptiste GADENNE, Area Sales Manager at VERGNET HYDRO. Co-financed by Côte d’Ivoire’s Hydraulics Ministry, the Islamic Development Bank and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (through its BID-UEMOA programme), the project is expected to cost 2.8 billion CFA francs (4.3 million euros).
In 2019, ODIAL SOLUTIONS Group brought access to drinking water to almost 1.7m villagers in sub-Saharan Africa, often under challenging conditions – steeply sloping land in Togo, armed conflict zones in Mali – and in complex situations, such as private connections in Mauritania. Each time, we identified the most suitable models and techniques: manual pumps, solar pumps, small-scale networks or drinking water services.
In 2019, we also saw the work undertaken over the last four years through our UDUMA subsidiary come to fruition: at the end of the year, work began to set up the company’s first drinking water service. In two years’ time, 560,000 villagers in Mali’s Sikasso region will benefit from the service.
We offer a high quality, fair, sustainable, large-scale, replicable service based on technical and societal innovations. In 2019, it continued to garner growing interest among the international community:
- Discussion and working group with researchers from the University of Oxford
- Mentions in works such as those published by the INTERNATIONAL WATER ASSOCIATION and jointly by the AFD (French development agency), CNRS (French centre for scientific research) and FWP (French water partnership)
- Invitations to present the UDUMA model at events such as the Sanitation and Water for All high-level meeting in San José and the ALL SYSTEMS GO! symposium in The Hague
- The 2019 “Most innovative business model” trophy from the International Development Observatory (ODI)
This high level of activity required us to recruit new staff and skills, and reorganise and reposition the group. We were supported in this transformation, and in particular in restructuring our range of products and services, by BPIFRANCE’s SME ACCELERATOR, set up to assist SMEs with high growth potential.
… and a year of strides in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
We have developed our group in an enormous number of ways this year, and each one demonstrates our focus on our social, societal and environmental impact. We have designed and set up technical solutions to bring drinking water to hard-to-reach areas, actively encouraged employees to choose cycling as a form of transport for both their journeys to work and their lunchtime errands, saved more than 1,500 tonnes of CO2 per year thanks to our solar expertise and our conscious preference for solar solutions, and adopted an anti-bribery policy covering all group staff.
ODIAL SOLUTIONS Group joined the United Nations Global Compact on 28 January 2010. The Global Compact brings together businesses, non-profits and United Nations agencies through a commitment to ten universally recognised principles. “These principles offer a framework for organisations that are committed to adopting sustainable practices.” Each year, we renew our commitment to the Global Compact by publishing a new Communication on Progress.
This 2020 Integrated Report serves as both an Annual Report and a Communication on Progress. Not only does it detail our main business activities during 2019, it also highlights the social, environmental and societal impacts they have had. It then goes on to describe our specific CSR initiatives. Our CSR action plan is included as a conclusion to the report.
I hope you will find it interesting and informative.
Chairman, ODIAL SOLUTIONS
To know more:
2020 Integrated Report
The urgent need to face the facts
For more than 40 years we have been working alongside our Governmental, Institutional and Private partners in sub-Saharan Africa to bring water to rural and isolated populations. Billions of euros have been invested in the sector, thousands of wells have been dug, and as many hand pumps installed, which are meant to provide drinking water to hundreds of millions of people.
Considerable efforts have been expended, both on the ground and in the offices, to achieve the set objective. Yet the upshot of this today leaves a sour taste in the mouth: it is not working as we would like it to! Why is this?
It is all too easy to accuse the Governments or Institutions of deficiencies or even incompetence, to lambaste the beneficiaries for allegedly not understanding what they have to gain, or to accuse the private sector of wanting to make money at the expense of quality. It is all too simple to disclaim responsibility for the failures by finding someone else, a scapegoat, to take the blame. Unfortunately, this serves absolutely no purpose other than finding excuses for those who are meant to find the solutions.
We are all responsible for the situation: players and spectators alike. First of all, the water issue has not been properly assimilated. How is it possible that we can still, today, be discussing whether or not drinking water deserves to be a dedicated goal among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? How is it possible that we can spend months, or even years, to put in place contracts, via interminable procedures, for projects that are qualified as urgent? How is it possible to sell one’s soul to the point of supplying and signing off defective material and neglecting work to satisfy “lowest-bidder” criteria, often culminating in the construction of a system that you know quite well will only work for a short time, or will even never work at all?
Everything that has been put in place to avoid that today constitutes a bureaucratic labyrinth, a stack of procedures that stymie the stakeholders without protecting the desperate rural populations.
Alongside this, how is it possible – as a beneficiary – to be able to expect a better service without being ready to pay a fair price?
We need to react! We need to look at how things really are! We need to simplify things! We all need to make progress to avoid coming across in 2030 as laughing stocks, when faced with a deplorable record concerning the degree of fulfilment of the SDGs, in particular the SDG dedicated to water and sanitation, which would leave millions of people in need and cause everyone to lose face. We are ready, and others are too, I’m sure, to address this challenge. These are urgent times!
I wish you all a happy and prosperous New Year!
Chairman, ODIAL SOLUTIONS
ODIAL SOLUTIONS: the Group’s staff and 21 partners (14 nationalities) meet in Yamoussoukro to anticipate together evolutions in the water sector
The ODIAL SOLUTIONS group and its subsidiaries VERGNET HYDRO and UDUMA are bringing together their teams and 21 representatives of partner companies from 14 Sub-Saharan African countries in Yamoussoukro (Ivory Coast), from 20 to 23 November 2019. “This seminar, full of brainstorming sessions, information sessions and cultural outings, strengthens our powerful and dynamic network of local partners. It is an opportunity to present to them the group’s vision, the evolutions of our product and service ranges, good after-sales service practices… but also to anticipate together the evolutions of the sector”, explains Thierry BARBOTTE, Chairman of the ODIAL SOLUTIONS group.
Imagining new models to finance the historical market and… entering new markets
The equation is as follows: sub-Saharan Africa (1) remains the region in the world with the lowest drinking water access rates, 2) it will have large rural populations for decades to come, 3) is not expected to suffer from overall groundwater shortages by 2040, but… (4) can no longer rely on the historical support of Official Development Assistance, which has drastically reduced its funding for rural sub-Saharan water over the years. “The demand for safe drinking water exists. ODIAL SOLUTIONS and its partners have the technical expertise to meet these demands. We are therefore collectively imagining new models to finance such projects: the UDUMA service, export credits, collaboration with impact investors, etc.”
This event is also an opportunity to jointly consider new markets. “We accumulate experience beyond village hydraulics. So do our partners. By identifying these experiences, we strive at combining our respective assets to multiply, hand in hand, our business opportunities.”
Ivory Coast: historical country and country of the future for ODIAL SOLUTIONS
For more than 40 years, Ivory Coast has been one of the major customers of the solutions developed by ODIAL SOLUTIONS. Today, nearly one in four Ivorians (6.2 million Ivorians) have access to drinking water via solutions proposed by the Group. “The Group’s local subsidiary, SAHER (5 employees), is also experiencing strong growth in its activities and is actively involved in the group’s R&D. All these arguments motivated the organization of this seminar in Yamoussoukro.”
Burkina Faso: SAGEMCOM ENERGY & TELECOM relies on VERGNET BURKINA to supply 120,000 villagers with electricity
5 photovoltaic sites, 1,820 solar modules and a power of 587.5 kWp
“120,000 inhabitants of the Nord and Centre-Nord regions of Burkina Faso will be supplied with continuous electricity from the beginning of November by the 5 new solar photovoltaic power plants set up by the joint-venture associating the Burkinabe company VERGNET BURKINA (a subsidiary of VERGNET HYDRO) with the French firm SAGEMCOM ENERGY & TELECOM,” enthuses Jean-Christophe KI, Managing Director of VERGNET BURKINA. These installations are part of the major eco-electrification project for rural areas in the Nord and Centre-Nord regions, managed by the Burkinabe company Société d’Infrastructures collectives (SINCO) and co-financed by the European Union, the National Office for Water and Sanitation (ONEA), the Electrification Development Fund (FDE), the Société Nationale d’Electricité du Burkina (SONABEL), Solidarité Internationale pour le Développement et l’Investissement (SIDI) and SINCO.
The 1,820 solar modules of these 5 photovoltaic sites, located in the villages of Talisma, Saye, Ridimbo and Minima (Northern region) and Noaka (Central-Northern region), generate a power of 587.5 kWp (117.5 kWp on each site). SAGEMCOM ENERGY & TELECOM, lead partner in this project, provided all the equipment. “VERGNET BURKINA’s teams, composed of civil engineering technicians, electrotechnicians and experienced photovoltaic workers, were responsible for earthworks, civil engineering, building construction, solar field assembly and equipment installation.”
Authentic factors in the local economic development
The villagers benefit from this access to electricity via their SINCO subscriptions to the low-voltage grid. The 5 sites are connected to the grid of SONABEL, into which they inject their surplus electricity. “These facilities are authentic factors in the local economic development. Of course, they provide extra comfort for the home. But they also guarantee a continuous source of energy for local mills, mechanical welding workshops, ice production, etc.”