Fostering Partnerships and Investing in Entrepreneurs

Ek Sonn Chan, the general director of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, offers visitors to his office cool water in a crystal glass, covered by a silver lid in the shape of a Cambodian crown.
Ek Sonn Chan, the general director of the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority, offers visitors to his office cool water in a crystal glass, covered by a silver lid in the shape of a Cambodian crown.

About 814 million people live in unsanitary conditions in India, 477 million in China, 104 million in Nigeria, and 91 million people in Pakistan live in unsanitary conditions. Behind a lack of proper water sanitation and waste management is the lack of priority given to the private sector, insufficient water supply, and unaffordable financial services. The water could be sanitized for safe drinking. The waste could be processed for Gas—a profitable byproduct.

In India and China, there are slight improvements to water and sanitation due to investments in those sectors. But in countries like Africa, a proper infrastructure for water sanitation and waste management is missing. Infrastructure problems could be solved with the development of a strong Venture Capital (VC) sector in China and Africa, bridging the gap between both the private and public sectors, fostering partnerships for investing in aspiring entrepreneurs, investing in social programs, and investing in business enterprises in providing services at a much lower cost.

A perfect example about investing in entrepreneurs is Ek Sonn. He took over the water authority, and brought about change at the grassroots level within his community. “When Ek Sonn Chan took over the water authority in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in 1993, the enterprise couldn’t afford chlorine. Now purity is widespread, and the agency offers free in-home tests to city residents,” says Julie Masis. There is power investing in private business enterprises that could be used to promote safe drinking water and sanitation in developing countries. This fostering of partnerships and investing in entrepreneurs influences local governments at the community level and strengthens the private sector to get things done.