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Namibia has awarded Ionics a $26.7 million contract to build a water desalination plant, making the desert country the first in the region to desalinate sea water for domestic use.
U.S. firm Ionics will build the desalination plant at the coastal resort town of Swakopmund.
The plant, a joint project with Namibian water utility NamWater, will be the biggest single capital investment in water supply infrastructure since the country's independence from South Africa in 1990.
NamWater spokesperson Lazarus Jacobs said the utility and Ionics would form a joint venture -- AquaNam -- to operate the plant, which will make Namibia the first sub-Saharan African state to desalinate sea water for large-scale domestic use.