Insights

Between Iran and China, where’s the opportunity?

Two countries made a big impression on me at last week’s Global Water Summit in Abu Dhabi: Iran and China.

Iran is in the news because – with the end of sanctions – it looks like the next big market waiting to take off, and the round table sessions hosted by the Iranian delegation were very much over-subscribed. China, on the other hand, is the next...

Water reuse has overtaken desal. What does it mean?

I have been in Jeddah this week for the launch of the National Water Company’s Western Region projects, before coming back to the office to work on some of the forecasts for our new Global Water Market report. The two activities complement each other quite well. The issue I have been working on in terms of forecasts is the relative outlook for desalination versus...

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 The paternalistic procrastination which characterised the rule of King Abdullah has been replaced by a...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...