Insights

Ten and a bit things I want to learn in Abu Dhabi

I have been immersed in the organisation of the Global Water Summit this week. We have confirmations from 100 speakers so far, and we are making the final push for our target of 130. It is a big deal to put together, and I do it primarily because I hate not knowing things about this market. Here are some of the questions about the global water business that I want...

Cell phones and the making of Africa’s water sector

I have been in Nairobi this week for the African Water Association Congress. I was there to host a Global Water Leaders Group event, but the real revelation for me was the way in which mobile phones are revolutionising the way water utilities work in Africa.

Two thirds of Africa’s population now owns a mobile phone, and those who don’t have one generally...

The opportunities in Saudi Arabia’s perestroika

I have been in Riyadh for the Saudi Water and Electricity Forum. It seems as if it has been raining royal decrees since the dynamic Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman stepped up to chair the newly formed Council of Economic Development and Affairs last year. The paternalistic procrastination which characterised the rule of King Abdullah has been replaced by a...

Where’s water in a non-Piketty economic environment?

Are we on the verge of asset price deflation? Over the past twenty-five years, we have lived in a world of flat or falling consumer prices, but rising asset prices. There may have been wobbles, but generally we have come to expect equities, property prices, and other investment asset classes to rise in value more quickly than the economy as a whole since the early...

Are we talking corruption or bad risk management?

Everyone likes stories about corruption – especially if they include hair transplants (see this month’s GWI if you are curious). The problem is that they tend to turn everyone into villains long before the actual facts of the case are sorted out.

That is certainly the case with the current Acumed scandal in Spain. Everyone in the international water industry...

Will water outperform as the outlook turns bitter?

It looks like the Federal Reserve’s decision to raise interest rates will not be the first step towards a world of higher interest rates. Instead, the rapid appreciation of the US dollar, assisted by a rush of capital out of emerging markets, $30 oil and China’s market turmoil have changed the outlook. The next interest rate move may be down rather than up.

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