Monday, 21 September 2015

Interruptions in water supply hinder chemical innovation in the DRC

Chemical production uses water; it would be impossible for a chemical industry to develop in its absence.  However, in the DRC many chemical companies face intermittent water supply.  Of DRC chemical manufacturers who use water in production (almost all of them) and surveyed in 2013, four out of ten had experienced insufficient water supply for production. The average frequency of shortages was 4.6 times each month.


How severe is the problem for output from the industry?  If a company had no water shortages, then two thirds of the time they had introduced a new product in the previous three years.  If a company had experienced water shortages, then they introduced a new product less than a third of the time. 

It may be that innovative companies try harder to get reliable water supply.  But there is also a strong argument that if water supply is not reliable, the experimentation process required for innovation will be severely hindered.  Where experimentation does occur, companies with reliable supply are more likely to get to market first with the new product.

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