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IBM-Waterfund Index Expands With Uganda as First African Nation

International Business Machines Corp. and Waterfund LLC, a risk-management provider, agreed to add Uganda to their global Water Cost Index, the first African member of the investing tool the companies announced in January.

The agreement with Uganda’s Ministry of Water and Environment will let IBM collect data to calculate the cost of producing water, in dollars per cubic meter, said Peter Williams, chief technology officer of Big Green Innovations at IBM.

Global water use has grown at more than twice the rate of population increase over the last century, according to the United Nations. A growing number of nations are turning to the private sector to build and maintain water networks, and information such as the water index may facilitate investment, Williams said.

“The primary purpose is to enable more capital investment in a sector that desperately needs it,” Williams said today in an interview from Uganda. “This is not a price index -- it’s a cost index. The price that you charge for water is an entirely different decision than the cost of getting it there in the first place.”

The first version of the index will be released next month with information from about a half-dozen nations, he said. “The goal is to build it out to 25 percent of the world’s GDP.” The index will also include countries in Asia and the Americas.

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