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Turkey develops irrigation and well projects for Africa

Turkey develops irrigation and well projects for Africa Nigerians taste water from a well drilled by a team dispatched to the area by the Turkish Ministry of Environment, which has completed over 200 projects in Africa.

Turkey continues to win the hearts of people in African countries who are struggling with hunger and water problems. The Turkish Ministry of Environment and Forestry has implemented over 200 projects in Africa in areas that have needs for irrigation and access to clean water.  

Speaking to Today’s Zaman, Environment and Forestry Minister Veysel Eroğlu said: “We assess the needs in African countries and try to provide as much help as we can. We don’t expect anything in return when we help.”

There is currently a high level of demand for the projects by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. At the request of a country, the ministry provides support to develop, implement and monitor irrigation projects and train workers. The ministry also develops and manages projects for countries that need assistance with dams, wells and basin planning. Nigeria tops the list of African countries where the ministry has implemented these projects. A team of seven people from the ministry has drilled 87 wells so far in Nigeria. A further 20 wells will become operational in January.

Around 1,500 to 2,500 people benefit from each well that is sunk in Nigeria. According to ministry calculations, a total of 175,000 people have been provided with access to clean water thus far. Nigeria’s Water, Environment and Fight against Desertification Minister Kaza Abdou requested to meet with Eroğlu during the Climate Change Conference held in Cancun on Dec. 14. Abdou expressed appreciation for Turkey’s assistance in constructing wells that have given people in Nigeria access to drinking water. The Nigerian minister said his country obtains water from just one river but that this river floods because of sedimentation and asked for Turkey’s continued help in addressing the water problems faced by his country.

Turkey has also delivered equipment for drilling wells to Sudan and offered training in its use. So far 20 people have been trained by the ministry on how to drill wells. The ministry has also provided technical training on water resources planning to five engineers from Sudan.

Further educational programs on water resource planning and control have also been provided to engineers from Djibouti, Somalia and Ethiopia. Technical support and training was also provided for well drilling equipment in Djibouti and Sudan. A total of 43 concrete-reinforced wells were constructed in Ethiopia, and the water retention problems of a dam built by a Chinese company were fixed by Turkish engineers. A project that will meet the water and irrigation needs of 30,000 people in Harar, Ethiopia, was planned, and training for its implementation and supervision was provided.

Technologically advanced machinery and drilling equipment were also sent to Burkina Faso, where wells are being drilled and officials are being trained on how to use the equipment. The ministry aims to enable access to clean drinking water for 100,000 people in this country.

Countries with water problems line up to speak with Eroğlu

Eroğlu was the focus of attention at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancun. Ministers from countries suffering from water problems and environmental problems were interested in meeting with him.
Yemen’s Environment and Water Minister Abdulrahman Fadel al-Eryani suggested establishing bilateral cooperation with Turkey on environment and climate change issues.

Noting that they would like to benefit from Turkey’s experience in afforestation and forestry, Mauritania Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Ba Housseynou Hamady asked Turkey for assistance in dealing with its desertification problem. The Turkish ministry agreed to provide assistance to Mauritania.
A team from the ministry prepared a draft cooperative agreement addressing issues such as afforestation, modern irrigation techniques, struggling with drought and drought-resistant trees. The draft will be sent to Mauritania in January by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Mauritania also expressed an interest in having their experts invited by Turkey to educational projects organized for other countries.

Egyptian Minister of State for Environmental Affairs Maged George Elias Ghattas said they were interested in learning from Turkey’s experience on solid waste management.
People’s Republic of China National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Xie Zhenhu also wanted to meet with Eroğlu during the Cancun conference. The Chinese minister proposed developing projects such as a high-speed train connection between China and Turkey, hydropower plants and cooperation in other industrial sectors.

The Turkish Ministry of Environment and Forestry also provides assistance to Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan on afforestation and the prevention of forest fires.

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