Berling (Germany), March 2021. Monday, March 22nd was International Water Day, and Boreal Light GmbH’s CEO and Co-Founder, Dr. Hamed Beheshti, participated in an interview on BBC-Africa Facebook Live addressing Impact of COVID19 on the Lives and Livelyhoods across the Continent. The show’s host, Ms. Maya Hayakawa, interviewed Dr. Beheshti and Ms. Hermien Oberholzer, the Principal Water Engineer of mining giant, Anglo American Platinum.
Boreal Light GmbH, one of GreenTec Capital’s portfolio companys that is based in Berlin, developed an innovative solar-powered water desalination system designed to operate off-grid in the most remote areas. Its systems are currently in operation in Kenya, Uganda, Yemen, Somaliand, South Africa, the Philippines, and soon in Tanzania.
Dr. Beheshti addressed a question about the economic impact of the shortfall of water access on the continent “People with low income and in rural communities without access to (water) grid are paying far higher costs for their drinking water. This the contradiction. Poorer people typically pay 6 times and sometimes 10 times more.”
Dr. Beheshti was asked about solutions to water shortfall. “In practice…aid is good, donations are good, but when it comes to products like water that should run for a long time, and its durability and sustainability are concerned…if just through donations, it spoils. But if you can create a social business out of water sector activities, that is the key for the development rural of communities.” He further explained “Social business means the water goes at an affordable tariff…and the income is invested in the same communities.”
Ms. Hayakawa asked about the impact of climate change on water access. Dr. Beheshti responded “Water solutions are now policies of adaptation, not mitigation. This is the new reality and not just of drinking water, but irrigation water.” He suggested that Boreal Light’s Kiosk system where water is desalinated onsite has a positive climate impact by reducing CO2 emissions from the logistics chain.
Ms. Hayakawa ended the interview asking the guests “What is the message do you would like us to take home today?” Dr. Beheshti responded “Remembering that fighting COVID19 the hospitals and health clinics are on the frontline.” He then told the story of a nurse in Kenya telling him last week “When it comes to hospitals and health clinics, water is not just water, it is medicine.”