Maji Jibu Company Ltd - Affordable, quality drinking water | Knowledge Hub | Circle Economy Foundation

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Business case
Maji Jibu Company Ltd - Affordable, quality drinking water

Jibu Tanzania equips Tanzanian entrepreneurs to manufacture and create affordable access to drinking water, in the process keeping durable plastic in circulation for as long as possible.


About 4 million people in Tanzania do not have access to safe water, and many government- and donor-sponsored programmes that have sought to provide access to water have met with failure. But with a growing population and an expanding middle class, there are opportunities to provide water according to a low cost, decentralised model, which also minimises material use. 


Jibu Tanzania provides safe, affordable and accessible drinking water through a decentralised franchise model. Tayeb Noorbhai saw franchisees that were operating successfully in Rwanda and Uganda and wanted to create a Tanzanianowned franchise, so that in the long run the business could become the backbone of a development distribution vehicle that is both localised and profitable. Jibu Global, the licensing partner of Jibu Tanzania, operates across seven African countries and has launched 122 franchises. Jibu offers small entrepreneurs the opportunity to purchase franchises with them. Water production units are paid for through a royalty per litre fee. They support the businesses with both set up and continuous training.

From a circular perspective, the idea is to use less plastic, and keep it in circulation for longer through refilling. Jibu Tanzania uses sturdy Polycarbonate 20 litre bottles that have a higher grammage and last for over 200 to 400 refill uses. The bottles are inspected and sanitised before reuse. Any damaged bottles are delivered to recycling companies. There are some interesting advantages to this model, not least the substitution effect. In supplying clean water in reusable containers, Jibu are reducing the labour intensity and time spent in collecting and purifying water through boiling (typically done by women) and the consumption of single-use plastic bottled water. 

Additional information

This case study has been created as part of Footprints Africa's work to build the first ever comprehensive mapping of circular economy initiatives in Africa. This will lay the foundation open-source database that can inspire local initiatives, as well as inform the global dialogue, which is largely focused on the European and American contexts. We are doing this in collaboration with the African Circular Economy Network (ACEN). ACEN's vision is to build a restorative African economy that generates well-being and prosperity inclusive of all its people through new forms of economic production and consumption which maintain and regenerate its environmental resources.

The objective is to build an open-source database featuring 500 cases by the end of 2021, with strong regional representation. These will feature in the Knowledge Hub and are also being mapped by GRID-Arendal. 

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