AFRICA – Danone, French multinational food-products corporation has partnered with Incofin IM, leading international impact fund manager to jointly invest in businesses providing access to clean water in Africa and Asia.

The partnership will entail pooling capital from major investors to invest in innovative water businesses that provide affordable and safe drinking water to underserved populations to catalyse further growth for the entire water sector.

Some of the targeted water businesses include decentralized solutions such as water kiosks, which deliver safely treated drinking water in gallons to the home or to the local store.

The investments will also be made in water pipes and water technologies.

Loïc De Cannière, Founder and Managing Partner Incofin IM stated that, “We see a vast amount of young emerging water companies in Africa and Asia. But the capital needs of these companies are relatively high.”

By investing in these companies and offering technical assistance, Danone and Incofin are pioneering an investment approach in the water sector – building on Danone Communities’ experience investing in safe water enterprises since 2007.

“We are convinced that our participations in the young water sector will allow us to build a strong, overarching partnership. Just as with the investments in our microfinance portfolio, we want to be a co-pilot for the entrepreneurs in which we invest.”, Loïc De Cannière.

This investment initiative will help social entrepreneurs scale their impact with all necessary resources.

Corinne Bazina, General Manager at Danone Communities highlighted that, “More than 2 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water. Danone’s ambition is to accelerate the development of the water sector and to contribute to SDG 6.”

The joint initiative comes at an opportune time. According to the UN, 3 out of 10 people do not have access to safe drinking water. Inadequate or unreliable access to safe water is a harsh reality, especially in large parts of Africa and Asia.

Piped water is the most common method to get water to consumers, but where piped networks are unavailable, people rely on wells or community water supply systems.

In some cases, people have to travel for miles to reach the nearest water source. Moreover, the raw water is often boiled on wood fire, which leads to increased CO2 emissions, deforestation and in some cases respiratory diseases.

A growing world population, with the fastest growth taking place precisely in regions where water is very scarce, together with a rising consumption and climate change, threatens to increase the inequality in access to safe water even further.