OREANDA-NEWS. GE (NYSE: GE) and the Algerian Energy Company’s Hamma Seawater Desalination Plant has been awarded a 2016 Impact Award by the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. government's development finance institution. OPIC’s Impact Awards recognize exceptional achievement in international private-sector development.

GE and the Algerian Energy Company’s Hamma Seawater Desalination Plant received the Impact Award in the category of “critical infrastructure.” The plant provides 1.5 million Algerian residents with fresh, clean water—meeting 25 percent of the city’s freshwater needs.

In 2008, Hamma Water Desalination SpA, a special project company combining 70 percent financing from GE and 30 percent from the Algerian Energy Company, was selected to design, build, own and operate the 200,000-cubic-meters-per-day (53 million gallons per day) Hamma Seawater Desalination Plant. It is a reverse osmosis (RO) seawater desalination facility that significantly alleviates water scarcity in Algiers and was the first RO desalination plant in Africa to be funded by public and private investment. GE also was awarded a 25-year contract to operate and maintain the plant.

“We are honored that the Hamma Seawater Desalination Plant received the OPIC Impact Award for critical infrastructure,” said Kevin Cassidy, global leader, engineered systems—water and process technologies for GE Power. “GE is fortunate to have been part of this project from the very beginning, and our water treatment operational capabilities allow us to take a hands-on role in providing a sustainable source of fresh water for 1.5 million residents.”

“The Hamma Seawater Desalination Plant is critical to the people of our country. Drought and extreme high demand for water forced our residents and businesses into frequent water rationing. The plant now provides a simple and economic solution that guarantees ongoing access to fresh water for Algerians. We thank OPIC for recognizing us, GE and our facility with this prestigious award,” said Ahcene Ouzane, general manager, Algerian Energy Company.

Mark Klaiber, general manager, engineered systems services—water and process technologies for GE Power, accepted the OPIC Impact Award at a ceremony at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., on July 7, 2016.

OPIC-supported projects in critical infrastructure, healthcare, education, agriculture, renewable energy, access to finance and other sectors are making a positive impact in people’s lives from Latin America to sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Asia. This year, OPIC presented awards in seven categories including innovation, development impact, access to finance, renewable resources, critical infrastructure, American small business and the president’s award.

The OPIC Impact Awards, now in its third year, recognize the important work OPIC partners are doing to advance development in emerging markets around the world. Impact Award winners are selected through a rigorous process that considers multiple factors including:

  • The project’s ability to successfully operate and overcome challenges in developing countries.
  • The project’s positive development impact.
  • The project’s satisfactory financial standing with the agency.
  • The project meeting OPIC’s high standards covering the environment and human rights, including worker's rights.

There is an open nomination process from all OPIC staff to submit projects that are in OPIC’s active portfolio or have recently paid off their loan in full. Each project is carefully reviewed under the above criteria, and final winners are selected from a committee composed of senior leadership.


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