IFAT Africa: experts gather in Johannesburg to solve environmental challenges

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IFAT Africa: experts gather in Johannesburg to solve environmental challenges

From today on and over three days, thousands of multi-disciplinary stakeholders will gather in Johannesburg to attend the IFAT Africa fair, in order to collaborate on more sustainable solutions for water, waste and effluent on the continent.

Hosted by Messe München, the founders of IFAT global, the trade fair which is being held from July 9 to 11, 2019, is intended to provide a platform where the cross-cutting issues of water, waste and effluent can be addressed and solved in a more integrated way. More than 200 exhibitors will showcase their technological solutions and innovations to potential partners and a series of capacity building workshops will be hosted on a variety of practical topics.

This year, IFAT Africa has partnered with Institute of Waste Water Management Southern Africa (IWMSA) and Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA), both of which will facilitate a masterclass using a living case study to illustrate feasibility and problem solving.


As the population in Sub Saharan Africa approaches 1 billion people, the continent’s water resources are under pressure as a result of rapid urbanisation, mining, pollution and climate change. The potential to generate ‘new water’ by reframing effluent as a resource rather than a waste stream is one of the guiding principles of a circular economy and could spell the solution for water- stressed countries such as South Africa and Namibia and East African nations such as Kenya and Ethiopia affected by reoccurring droughts.


With this year’s theme focusing on the treatment of industrial waste water, technical solutions from business working with the mining sector, to tackle the escalating challenge of Acid Mine Drainage from abandoned and unregulated mines will be showcased.

In South Africa, pollution of groundwater and rivers in the gold rich ore (loaded with heavy metals) of the reef near Johannesburg as well as the Mpumalanga Coal Belt reached a tipping point in 2012, when the drinking water of an entire community in Carolina, was rendered unsafe.


Rapid urbanisation is putting pressure on municipal water and sanitation infrastructure while in informal settlements ususally established by economic migrants, a lack of sanitation is contaminating ground water. IFAT Africa brings together innovations that are capable of transforming sludge into an energy feedstock and purifying groundwater using reverse osmosis in situ or though a mobile water purification plant.

Development Cooperation partners from Germany and the Netherlands will demonstrate how public private partnerships are working to enhance municipal capacity to delivery services by transferring knowledge and facilitating funding.

Youth empowerment

Since Africa is a young continent with 30% of its population aged between 10 and 24, there is an urgent need to transfer skills to the youth that will help deliver more sustainable solutions and power the green economy. In the spirit of this, IFAT Africa will be hosting a University Challenge were hundreds of students will be able to team up with their colleagues to solve real life challenges facing our communities.


Due to the growing success of IFAT Africa in previous years that attracted nearly 2000 visitors from 38 countries and showcased 152 exhibitors, this year IFAT Africa will co-host two additional trade fairs that have a synergy with the main trade fair.

Analytica Lab Africa aims to deliver the best international expertise in the field of laboratory analysis and biotechnology, while Food and Drink Technology Africa reaches out to the entire food and beverage value chain to address traceability, raw materials, packaging and distribution logistics, with a strong emphasis on reducing waste streams and using digitalisation to streamline processes.

Kristina Gubic
(in Johannesburg)


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