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Many people are aware that Israel is known as the “Start-up Nation” due to it being an international centre of technology and innovation. What is less well known is the ways in which these technologies are helping South Africans every single day. Whether it’s clean water, health care, entrepreneurship or cyber security Israel is partnering with South Africans to help make our country a better, safer and innovative place.

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In some parts of South Africa, washing your hands under running water, taking a quick shower, or even flushing the toilet is a luxury. More than three million people in South Africa do not have access to a basic water supply, and in the face of climate change, we need to do more to build resilient water and sanitation systems and protect and improve the management of freshwater resources for the benefit of all people. Israeli science, technology, and innovation have helped and continue to help improve our understanding of the dynamics of water supply and have helped manage shared water resources that recognise the interconnectedness of ecosystems, people, and livelihoods. Here are a few of Israel’s contributions to battling South Africa’s water crisis:

Water from Thin Air

Watergen is an Israeli business that pioneered the atmospheric drinking water devices (AWG) industry, which are machines that produce drinking water from the air. The firm’s solutions are the most efficient and cost-effective approach to address the urgent problem of drinking water shortage in any area and at any time and also enable the elimination of carbon-intensive supply chains and environmentally harmful plastic waste.


The production of drinking water from air humidity (AWG) is one of the most essential and creative water extraction technologies available today, and it is being utilized to address the rising problem of global drinking water depletion. It is estimated that half of the world's population would live in places without access to clean, fresh, and safe drinking water within the next decade.


Watergen has formed a partnership that provides fresh drinking water to underprivileged and under-resourced communities in the drought-stricken areas of Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa.


Reducing Water Consumption with Drip Irrigation  

Netafim is an Israeli manufacturer of irrigation equipment. The company produces drippers, dripper lines, sprinklers, and micro-emitters. Netafim also manufactures and distributes crop management technologies, including monitoring and control systems, dosing systems, and crop management software, as well as a variety of services, including managed irrigation, agronomical advisory, and operation and maintenance.  It is active in 110 countries with 33 subsidiaries and 17 manufacturing plants worldwide, one of which is Netafim South Africa, housed in Kraaifontein in the Western Cape. Netafim South Africa has been serving South Africa and its neighbouring countries with irrigation solutions and services since 1992. In 2018, we were nominated as one of the top subsidiaries in the global company.


The use of drip irrigation enhances crop planning and irrigation scheduling, reduces manpower requirements and costs, and increases profitability. It further optimises moisture and aeration conditions and leads to a concentrated and efficient root zone.


South Africa has 60% less available water than the world average. Sustainable agriculture and the efficient use of our scarce water resources will be the only way to support the food demand of our growing population. Keeping the irrigation landscape green requires some innovative thinking. The reuse of water and desalination plants will determine more potential growth, which is pivotal in securing mankind’s future. Drip irrigation gives us the opportunity to realise optimal crop production despite scarce resources. The secret is to apply the basic principles of drip irrigation, and it is our task to communicate this message to the market.


As the world’s leading irrigation company Netafim drives mass adoption of smart irrigation solutions to fight scarcity of food, water, and land.


Stopping Toxic Algal Blooms  

A leading global WaterTech company, based in Tel Aviv, Israel, that provides innovative, scalable solutions to toxic algae blooms for all bodies of water, irrespective of size or shape with guaranteed results. Water is the source of life. It is a precondition for a healthy environment. It is a human right. Triggered by lower water levels, pollution, and global warming, toxic algal blooms pose a serious threat, turning half of the world’s lakes and oceans into ‘dead aquatic zones’, hostile to other living beings.

BlueGreen’s technology activates a biological chain reaction in the water column, a surgical application of BlueGreen’s Lake Guard®️ rehabilitates entire lakes within a few short days, while rejuvenating their healthy, biodiverse activity.


Blue Green Water Technologies Ltd (BlueGreen), a global cleantech company, has announced it has successfully completed a strategic intervention against toxic cyanobacteria in Roodeplaat Dam. The privately-owned company is based in Tel Aviv, Israel, is dedicated to developing novel solutions to water-related problems. 

The Roodeplaat Dam treatment is one of several emergency interventions deployed by BlueGreen around the globe. The dam was initially constructed in 1956 as an irrigation dam but developed into an important water source for the northern areas of Tshwane. Pollution and drought have caused South Africa’s water resources to drop to an all-time low, contributing to the spiralling of toxic algae blooms out of control.

In another example: For the first time in decades, the people of Mahikeng are receiving safe drinking water from their main water supply source, which has been severely contaminated by toxic algae blooms. The successful treatment at Setumo dam also eliminated unpleasant taste and odour compounds from the drinking water and opened up recreation opportunities in and around the lake that had been, up until now, impossible. The project has positively impacted more than half a million lives as a direct result of improved water quality.

In This Video: History is made: A lake-wide remediation of a toxic algal bloom

Finding Water Leaks  

37% of all water is lost to leaks in South African cities. TaKaDu, a global leader in Integrated Water Network Management, has focused on bringing TaKaDu’s solution to the Southern African market. This initiative combines TaKaDu’s leading integrated solution with deep knowledge of the Southern African market, enabling clients to further expand water-saving initiatives and asset management strategies among other operating efficiencies. 


TaKaDu is also a recipient of the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers Award. The company, based out of Israel, touts itself as a pioneer in the water network monitoring space with the goal of optimizing water use. Through a combination of Internet of Things (IoT) technology and Big Data analytics, TaKaDu provides whole-system monitoring for utility companies in South Africa. They combine current network data with real-time monitoring in order to quickly identify any leaks, disruptions or other inefficiencies in water systems. More than just providing great customer service, this technology also allows utilities to reduce water waste connected to these issues.



South Africa has the most diversified and industrialised economy in Africa, but has suffered thanks to the impacts of COVID-19 and weak growth, poverty, and unemployment. Israeli industry and technology support South African exports and invests in the country helping to promote growth and create jobs.

Worlds End South Africa

Foreign Direct Investment

Foreign Direct Investment from Israel into South Africa is on average about 2.9 Billion Rand a year which provides jobs, training, capital, new technology, and management processes, competition, and economic growth in the form of profits from investments and corporate taxes. Clover, one of the largest branded consumer goods companies in South Africa received a buyout offer from Israel’s Central Bottling Co (CBC), which plans to expand the dairy business across sub-Saharan Africa and valued the company at R4.8 billion. This is an enormous contribution to FDI for the country. 


Export in Crucial Industries

Import/Export — Israel is one of South Africa's top export trading partners in the Middle East. Exports to Israel are, in sectors, critical to the economy, such as diamonds, agricultural produce, and aircraft materials. Israeli technology is especially prevalent in agriculture where Israel's world-famous technologies support farmers to plant, water, grow, monitor, harvest and move produce to the tables of South Africans and others around the world. South Africa is Israel’s primary trade partner in sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 30% of commerce. The value of Israel’s trade with South Africa totalled R4 billion worth of goods that exclude diamonds.


Information Technology

Another important area is IT. If you are making a phone call today in South Africa you are using Israeli technology and hackers are being kept away from our country’s data by Israel’s world-class cyber security. Technologies like Waze, the GPS navigation service that allows drivers to share traffic conditions automatically in real-time, was first launched on the continent in South Africa and  is enjoyed by millions across the country. Waze is a community-driven app available on all the major mobile platforms, including Android, iOS, and BlackBerry. It learns from users’ driving times to provide routing and real-time traffic updates.


Health Care

Good health is key to productivity and an effective economy. Israeli health care products in South Africa are at work every day fighting everything from Cancer to TB and creating jobs for ordinary South Africans.  Israeli products are also world-renowned for their skincare benefits. Since the start of the COVID epidemic, Israel has been at the forefront of the world in vaccine rollout and has brought high-tech Israeli technology Covid masks manufactured in South Africa to help fight the disease.  

A circumcision clinic for Zulu men was set up by Israeli doctors in the AIDS-stricken province of KwaZulu-Natal and has treated thousands of men. The Israeli nonprofit ‘Eye from Zion’ brings ophthalmologists to volunteer their surgical and training expertise in developing countries where over 1,000 patients have received free treatment.



According to the Department of Statistics South Africa, South Africans remain the highest tourist population per year travelling into Israel, and Israeli’s make up the highest population number of tourists entering South Africa from the Middle East. Tourism is a key part of the South African economy and for every seven tourists that visit our country, one job is created. Israeli tourists love coming to South Africa to enjoy the unique blend of wildlife, history, culture, natural beauty and food of the country. South African tourists go to Israel for the ultimate spiritual experience that lies in visiting the Holy Land, as well as a chance to enjoy a vibrant, multicultural, 21st-century society in the heart of the Middle East.


Israeli Investment in
South African Start-Ups

Israel is helping with the creation of a new generation of entrepreneurs in South Africa.  Funda and WhereIsMyTransport were announced to represent SA in the global competition held in Tel Aviv. Funda builds mobile and web applications to tackle social and academic development challenges faced by learners. WhereIsMyTransport (WIMT) is a platform for smart urban transport in emerging regions of the globe. WIMT continued to grow after their trip to Israel and was subsequently bought out by Naspers for 42 million rands.

Dozens of entrepreneurs have been on trips to Israel which have been held to help them gain an insight into the start-up nation and the process of creation for top enterprises. The Johannesburg-based start-up, Khula, was inspired by their entrepreneurial trip to Israel to create a marketing and distribution service that helps small-scale farmers bring their products to formal markets. Khula was the winner of the 2018 MTN business app of the year competition. 

Circumcision Clinics

The late Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini had endorsed a World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation on widespread medical male circumcision (MMC) as a means of slashing the risk of contracting the HIV virus by up to 65 percent. The protective effect even appears to strengthen over time. Israeli doctors gained experience in mass adult circumcision in the 1990s, as many Russian and Ethiopian Jews emigrating to Israel then hadn’t been able to practice infant circumcision due to religious persecution or other hardships, says Dr Inon Schenker, director of Operation Abraham Collaborative (OAC), a consortium of Hadassah Medical Center, National Medical Simulation Center, Wolfson Medical Center, Asaf Harophe Medial Center, Israeli Urological Association, Pediatric Surgery Association, Jerusalem AIDS Project, Israel Ambulatory Pediatric Association and Israel Perioperative Nurses Association – plus the Senegalese Ministry of Health and the Senegal Medical Association. Jewish baby boys are normally circumcised at eight days old as a sign of their acceptance into the biblical covenant of Abraham. If the surgery must be performed after the age of six months, it must be done by a physician rather than a lay ritual circumciser. So after circumcising some 100,000 adult males, nobody has more expertise in this area than do Israeli doctors. In 2006, WHO, UNAIDS, and UNICEF requested Israeli input into how to introduce MMC to the package of HIV prevention methods in African nations. OAC was established a year later to provide MMC training and service delivery at community clinics.


After a pilot project in Swaziland, which has the world’s highest HIV prevalence, OAC branched out to Lesotho, Uganda, Zambia, Ethiopia, and South Africa., An Israeli medical delegation travelled to KwaZulu Natal Province to set up a clinic, which receives US government funding through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mechanisms. The eventual goal is to provide MMC to 2.5 million men within five years. OAC assisted in the design and set-up of the Asiphile Clinic in Pinetown, on the outskirts of Durban as a model for community-level MMC. The Israelis already trained public health teams from six other hospitals in the region and will offer further training at Asiphile.  Because removal of the foreskin is not enough to prevent HIV infection, OAC introduced group and one-on-one counselling, which even continues on the operating table. Rather than waste the 18 minutes or so that the procedure takes, the team gives out comic-book-style educational material explaining the importance of condom use and post-op care. (Source Israel21c)


The late Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini

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