Two years ago, the Pureco-Unit Consortium started its first project in Ghana under a contract with a major African client in Kumasi. The wastewater treatment plant, designed and built as a unique solution for the treatment of the city's untreated wastewater, was inaugurated in May 2021. During a tour of the wastewater treatment plant, which is now at the end of its trial operation and has excellent treatment parameters, Mr. Áder said that the project is clear evidence that "Hungary not only highlights problems, but also show solutions and take them to where they are most needed in the world".
It was a great honour for us to present our first African work in person to the first man of our country. The project is a significant milestone for both the Hungarian and the Ghanaian side. This is the first water industry development in the country using Hungarian technology, and the way it is implemented and financed, is unprecedented in the region. 100% of the liquid waste (fecal sludge) transported on the axle is nowhere else in the world is cleaned on such a scale.
The Kumasi Wastewater Treatment Plant was designed and built by the Pureco-Unit Consortium as part of an investment by one of Ghana's largest private groups, the Jospong Group of Companies. This is a significant success for Hungary, as the Ghanaian investor finally chose Hungarian technology and a Hungarian contractor in a highly competitive international market.
Jospong Group is one of Ghana's most diversified holding companies, with operations in other African countries and Asia. The company has interests in 14 different economic sectors. Its largest part is in waste management, including the management of liquid waste transported on axle. The Jospong Group's investment was financed by the Hungarian export credit agency EXIM through an internationally assessed and disbursed buyer credit facility, which was granted in accordance with international standards, within the framework and at the interest rates set by the OECD and the European Central Credit Institutions. Under the buyer credit, the bank provides credit to the Ghanaian counterparty, thus ensuring the implementation of the project, the success of the Hungarian consortium's exports and a stable financial return.
Dr. Joseph Siaw Agyepong, CEO of the Jospong Group of Companies, welcomes Mr. Áder in Kumasi - Photo by Péter Dózsa Pureco IDEA
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade provided the stable economic diplomacy backing for the project. The Pureco Group has consciously participated in the Budapest Water Summits (2013, 2016, 2019) and the events have contributed greatly to the current success in Africa. The Hungarian Head of State stressed that the Kumasi wastewater treatment plant was completed very quickly, in about one and a half years, despite the worldwide coronavirus epidemic. At the Kumasi wastewater treatment plant, the Pureco-Unit Consortium, as the Hungarian main contractor, carried out the unique Septopure technology, its design and implementation, with the domestic contribution of more than 50% of the total project implementation cost, including technology development, design, equipment, prefabrication of components, local Hungarian construction management, Hungarian mechanical and electrical installation, and commissioning of the mechanical and biological wastewater treatment plant, training of local workers for further operation, and involvement of local construction partners. We welcomed him to our first wastewater treatment plant in Africa.
Top view of the completed plant - Photo by Péter Dózsa Pureco IDEA
The technology solution includes not only the development itself, but also professional training programmes focused on retaining the local workforce and preparing them to operate the designed and built systems. To ensure the successful operation of the constructed treatment plant, and thus its long-term sustainability, a series of training programmes have been organised for Ghanaian professionals. In addition to this, within the framework of the sharing of experience among the operators of Hungarian wastewater treatment plants, the experts of the Dunamenti Regionális Vízmű Zrt. are supporting the training and education of the Ghanaian experts involved in the operation of the plant in Kumasi, as they not only have to be able to build a plant, but also to operate and manage it. As a result of the ongoing successful professional and technical Ghanaian-Hungarian cooperation and fruitful dialogue, the Pureco-Unit Consortium, which was selected in an international competition, will build two more wastewater treatment plants in Ghana (in Takoradi and Tamale), which will be completed this autumn. The President's visit to Ghana and his visit to the Kumasi wastewater treatment plant received a great deal of press coverage, with numerous articles (online and in print), reports and videos being published both in Ghana and at home.
In addition to participating in the protocol programmes, Hungarian experts who travelled to Ghana on the occasion of the President's visit to the country on business also held a number of discussions on ongoing and potential drinking water and wastewater treatment opportunities. The CEO of the Hungarian water utility, László Virág, who was involved in sharing experience and knowledge with the operators, and the CEO of the National Water Utility Ltd., which oversees the state-owned water utility companies, Zsolt Volencsik, held face-to-face meetings in Accra with the management of the Ghana Water Company Ltd. (GWCL) and the Community Water and Sanitation Agency (CWSA). These discussions focused on successful operator training in the Kumasi project, the training of Ghanaian professionals in Hungary, and water solutions for the treatment of contaminated drinking water in rural isolated communities.
In the long term, the Pureco-Unit Consortium's projects in Ghana will contribute to the growth of the export market of the domestic water industry, to the enhancement of the visibility and recognition of Hungarian expertise, to the access to further regional potential markets, to the exploitation of Hungarian expertise in the whole African region, leading to further cooperation agreements and projects. Export enterprises abroad, as well as interest-bearing capital inflows, benefit the national economy, both in terms of domestic taxes and in terms of high value-added products and services.
Along our work in Africa, we consider it important to mention that through our foreign entrepreneurial activities, which are also aimed at solving the globally unfolding water and environmental crisis, we contribute to the retention of Hungarian workers who are competitive in the international labour market, and we also generate domestic value added and tax revenue. We are proud that the Hungarian Head of State personally visited the Kumasi wastewater treatment plant during his visit to Ghana.