Africa must turn the current energy challenge into an opportunity

Lilongwe, Malawi, 14 March 2016 (ECA) – Speaking at the official opening of the Ad hoc Group Meeting (AEGM) on the Energy Crisis in Southern Africa: Perspectives for the future, Southern Africa Regional Director, Said Adejumobi said that Africa can leap-frog its energy production by benefiting from the progress in science and technology, in moving to climate friendly energy production systems, which are less expensive and more durable. Adejumobi said that Africa does not need to reinvent the wheel in its search for energy security as it can tap into existing technology to define a new path to the future.

“The energy crisis is the greatest challenge of our time, which is not only affecting Southern Africa, but the entire continent. No less than 32 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to World Bank, are in dire energy situation”, Adejumobi noted.

He called for Africa to fix her energy crisis as no industrialization can occur without adequate energy supply which is the life-wire of a modern economy and society. Adejumobi observed; “nature presents a paradox for the energy crisis in Southern Africa; it is partly the cause and also the solution.  The dearth of rainfall has affected hyro-electric power generation especially with water shortages in the Kariba Dam affecting electricity supply in Zambia and Zimbabwe. On the other hand, nature in Solar and wind power will also be the solution to the energy crisis the region is confronted with”

He called on Southern Africa to look for strategic options at national and regional levels; increased prioritization and resources allocation to the energy sector and right policy choices on the best alternative route to take to facilitate energy security.

Meanwhile, the Government of Malawi says that crucial investment is important to remedy the current energy crisis in Southern Africa.

The Secretary to the Treasury, Dr Ronald Mangani said many factors have been attributed to the current power shortages obtaining in the region as well as the slow pace of recovery from the situation. He said that SADC developed Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) to address the power challenges.

“In this case the SAPP intends to provide reliable and economical electricity supply to the consumers of each of the SAPP members, consistent with the reasonable utilization of natural resources and the effect on the environment, he said.

Dr Mangani said that the Government of Malawi is doing all it can to address the energy challenges in the country by rehabilitating, upgrading and modernizing the Electricity Supply Corporation of Malawi (ESCOM’s) generation, transmission and distribution capacity, among other things. The government is also promoting energy efficiency in the country. 

The power crisis is happening at the time when the region is working to accelerate industrialization. The AEGM provides a forum for exchanging ideas and sharing lessons from a diverse pool of expertise and experiences through round-tables, presentations and open discussions.

Issued by:

Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
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Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826