Flipping Book | Africa's Giants | Salini Impregilo Library

model able to ensure the primary water needs, first and foremost. This would also permit an improvement in the quality of hygiene and sanitation conditions, aiming for a drastic reduction in the so-called yellow cans used by Africans to transport water from the wells to their homes, often over very long distances. The end result will hopefully be eradication of not only the most serious epidemics but also the apparently minor ones with limited damage to health, but just as dangerous due to their endemic nature. These include debilitating diseases like dysentery, in particular, which is responsible for the demise of many children. The solution is to create adequate infrastructures to extract and transport water, becoming the driving force to improve living conditions and economic development. Transportation of water without waste, the battle against pollution of the waterways, production of low- cost renewable energy, and modern irrigation systems that reduce the waste of blue gold. Models that can be followed already exist: they simply need to be imitated. Rivers, natural and artificial lakes, and underground reservoirs make it possible to resolve the water problem. But we need to be able to move from theory to action, optimising our use of water resources. However, Africa does not belong only to Africans. The greatest presence and one that must be dealt with is that of China, which has now raised flags on a large part of the continent. Growth needed by Beijing in order to compensate its insufficient internal production of food, increasingly less able to satisfy demand, thanks to cultivation on African land. Of course, this Chinese activism has led to harsh criticism, including the accusation of new colonisation, which the government has always rejected, approving massive land purchases but requiring concrete efforts to strengthen the rational use capabilities for the collective good of natural resources, starting with water. Nevertheless, water continues to be a fundamental aspect of the conflict, because the purchase of land implies the possibility of regular irrigation. In fact, access to water has been one of the key variables in the search for land to purchase, with some talk of grabbing the water resource rather than the land. In any case, blue gold, like all precious raw materials, is a resource with limited availability, particularly in Africa, where drought and non-rational use of the existing water resources are issues still to be resolved. The existing scenario shows that the less water is available, the higher the risk of tension and even war, as outlined in a report by American intelligence, commissioned by the Secretary of State at the time, Hillary Clinton. According to the National Intelligence Estimate, the alarm regards potential areas of crisis in North Africa and in the Middle East in particular. The report highlights tension among countries for use of blue gold, predicting disputes between Egypt and Ethiopia, as well as between Israel and Jordan. Without mentioning the risk of water being used by Islamic terrorists for blackmail or as a military objective. In fact, those controlling the water resources also control the surrounding cities and countryside. The hope is that blue gold be used to finance peace and not to subsidise wars. For this, we need more wells, more dams and more waterworks. Provided, of course, that they respect the environment. •