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Abdelghani Seffal : The eco-entrepreneur

Behind S.Five group, the first company operating in advanced water purification technologies in Africa, is Abdelaghani Seffal. How has this Algerian elevated his company to be a national leader? What are his innovative and sustainable 100% Algerian solutions, to prevent and repair environmental damage? Portrait of a tech-savvy, born into a family of entrepreneurs.

By Nadjoua Khelil in Algiers

Entrepreneurship is in the DNA of Seffal’s family. « I come from a family of entrepreneurs, first and foremost my father was in the textile industry. This helped me, as a kid, to learn and discover the world of machines and electronics. At the same time, being very curious, I was introduced to computers at the age of nine. My time was therefore divided between school, machines, computers, Muslim scouting and, a little later, local associations for the protection of the environment, including the one in the wilaya of my region of Aïn Defla », says the versatile eco-entrepreneur.

The journey began in the early 2000s, then a law student, his choice was quickly « fixed ». « No question of continuing in textiles, but rather in computer science, electronics and mechanics, my favorite field, » specifies Abdelghani Seffal. He then accumulates training and experience, first in Algeria but also in Italy, Poland, New Zealand or China, among other experiences overseas. 

In 2009, the year when S.Five was established, he leaves for Shenzhen, the electronics manufacturing capital of the world. He will work in electronic display but will be inspired by the Chinese model: « the best conditions of productivity were met.”

« Being in environmental engineering, sustainability in our company is the growth driver in all its aspects »

Back in the country, Abdelghani Seffal, already trained in « ecological citizenship and sustainable development within associations,” decided to invest in the environment and water treatment through the « local design of sustainable cutting-edge engineering technologies. A deliberate choice, » he says.

To « boost » his business, S.Five is even inspired by the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “Being in environmental engineering, sustainable development in our company is a growth driver in all its aspects.”

In Algeria, 800 million m3 of wastewater are produced per year of which « only 15 million m3 are redirected to agriculture, it is low. A quantity « recoverable to 90% through tertiary treatment, by equipping treatment plants with ozone and ultraviolet, something which we propose. Especially since there is a political will to move towards this advanced treatment.”

Water contaminated by wastewater discharges into nature and the lack of sanitation cause waterborne diseases (MTH). Aware of the health issue in the continent, S.Five wants to extend its offer to the maximum and make available to Africans « quality water in urban and rural areas, treated with ozone that disinfects water from pathogens, disintegrates germs and all pollutants, » says Abdelghani Seffal. 

“It is about installing ozone for sustainable purification of drinking water in African communities”

« This involves installing in African communities the ozone for the sustainable purification of drinking water: the Ozomax-3 and Ozomax-G500, for a healthy water in the continent, « he said. He added that ozone has been used for fifteen years in the West, but imported to emerging countries. “In Algeria, S.Five has this technology, its design and engineering, and operates it in pharmaceuticals, chemical and recycling industries, agriculture, dairies and slaughterhouses … This is coupled with follow up of our partners, from design to installation, along with support, and even training and upkeep,” said the CEO. 

With a capacity of 3,000 liters/hour, the « OzoMax-3 » is a « modular photovoltaic » system. It allows for « rollout by populations in remote areas of Africa, especially those who rely on water sources, » says the CEO. The medium range, « OzoMax-G500 », is adapted to urban areas and megacities. 

Preventing pollution of marine ecosystem

Tons of industrial waste are discharged into nature around the world. In Africa, only 16% of wastewater is treated, according to the UN’s 2021 report. In Mauritania, S.Five will intervene to treat industrial wastewater from one of the 10 fishmeal manufacturing plants. « We will use Osmosis treatment to preserve the marine environment from pollution. Our goal is to extend it to the other nine units. 

Abdelghani Seffal also emphasized: “I visited several countries on the continent and took the time between 2015 and 2018 to explore seven countries in particular: Ghana, Togo, Senegal, Benin, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Mauritania. This allowed me to identify the needs and to get closer to local partners, in order to pass on our know-how and contribute to pan-African development.” This is an African-made solution, suited to the reality of the continent, which should quickly spread. 

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