Coca-Cola brings water to India

Harry How/Getty Images If there’s one thing a traveler can count on, it’s that almost anywhere on this planet, you can find a Coke. Development folks have realized that the soft drink company’s skills at distributing clean liquids regularly and reliably could be useful. The U.N. Human Settlements Programme has just inked a partnership with ...

602443_070420_coke_05.jpg
602443_070420_coke_05.jpg

Harry How/Getty Images

If there's one thing a traveler can count on, it's that almost anywhere on this planet, you can find a Coke. Development folks have realized that the soft drink company's skills at distributing clean liquids regularly and reliably could be useful. The U.N. Human Settlements Programme has just inked a partnership with Coca-Cola to expand access to clean drinking water in urban areas in two Indian states and nearby areas in Nepal. The joint efforts will include rainwater harvesting demonstration projects, water management advice, and water provision for schools.

The deal is probably smart marketing for Coca-Cola, which only last year had to fight off attempts at a ban on its products fueled by nationalist sentiment. It's also a smart move for India, though. Its notorious bureaucracy and developmental state has been a failure at improving the lives of its citizens, while its growing private sector has lifted millions out of poverty. Harnessing private know-how to kick-start development is much more likely to succeed.

Harry How/Getty Images

If there’s one thing a traveler can count on, it’s that almost anywhere on this planet, you can find a Coke. Development folks have realized that the soft drink company’s skills at distributing clean liquids regularly and reliably could be useful. The U.N. Human Settlements Programme has just inked a partnership with Coca-Cola to expand access to clean drinking water in urban areas in two Indian states and nearby areas in Nepal. The joint efforts will include rainwater harvesting demonstration projects, water management advice, and water provision for schools.

The deal is probably smart marketing for Coca-Cola, which only last year had to fight off attempts at a ban on its products fueled by nationalist sentiment. It’s also a smart move for India, though. Its notorious bureaucracy and developmental state has been a failure at improving the lives of its citizens, while its growing private sector has lifted millions out of poverty. Harnessing private know-how to kick-start development is much more likely to succeed.

More from Foreign Policy

An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.
An illustration shows George Kennan, the father of Cold War containment strategy.

Is Cold War Inevitable?

A new biography of George Kennan, the father of containment, raises questions about whether the old Cold War—and the emerging one with China—could have been avoided.

U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.
U.S. President Joe Biden speaks on the DISCLOSE Act.

So You Want to Buy an Ambassadorship

The United States is the only Western government that routinely rewards mega-donors with top diplomatic posts.

Chinese President Xi jinping  toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.
Chinese President Xi jinping toasts the guests during a banquet marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China on September 30, 2019 in Beijing, China.

Can China Pull Off Its Charm Offensive?

Why Beijing’s foreign-policy reset will—or won’t—work out.

Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar chairs a meeting in Ankara, Turkey on Nov. 21, 2022.

Turkey’s Problem Isn’t Sweden. It’s the United States.

Erdogan has focused on Stockholm’s stance toward Kurdish exile groups, but Ankara’s real demand is the end of U.S. support for Kurds in Syria.