Southern Africa: SADC Tackles Water, Energy Shortfall

| June 21, 2016

Southern African Development Community (SADC) chairperson, President Lt Gen. Dr Seretse Khama Ian Khama has called on the SADC region to muster greater political will to ensure sustainable supply of energy and water in the SADC region.

Officiating at the two-day SADC Ministerial workshop on Energy and Water Crisis in the SADC Region in Gaborone, on June 20, he said the region was facing a number of multiple challenges related to energy and water availability, delivery, access and affordability.

President Khama said access to electricity in rural areas was below 10 per cent in most member states and that overall electricity for the region stood at 40 per cent compared to 44 per cent for Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) region.

As for water, he said, the SADC 2015 figures indicated that out of the 292 million SADC region's population, 60 per cent has access to drinking water, while only 40 per cent had access to adequate sanitation facilities.

"This less enviable record is a serious indictment on the region's efforts to roll-out water and sanitation infrastructure services," he said.

President Khama said there was need to increase the current 14 per cent of the stored water resources to atleast 25 per cent.

In this regard, President Khama said the region should muster greater political will in order to ensure delivery in accordance with priorities of Sustainable Development Goals six, seven and nine on increasing access to safe water and sanitation, access to affordable clean energy and infrastructural development for industrialisation of the member states.

He called for better approaches to the challenge of delivery and implementation of the otherwise well-conceived water and energy infrastructure projects across the region.

President Khama however, noted that the Energy Ministerial Task Force had been established with the purpose of providing impetus to the implementation of power projects and addressing the power crisis in the SADC region.

He said the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan (RIDMP 2012) contained a pronounced water sector programme to support the development of water resources infrastructure with its 34 approved projects.

President Khama further asked stakeholders to come up with activities in the Action Plan that would address among others how the SADC region was addressing the impact of the current drought on the energy and water sectors, and how the region could comprehensively address water insecurity and what immediate and short term remedies were available.

The SADC chairperson also asked the stakeholders to look into why the region continued to find itself unprepared for the extreme events and how best they could plan for resilience, as well as how the region could develop an optimal energy mix, incorporating all forms of energy, including cleaner energy technologies and sources.

"I strongly believe that if the recommended Action Plan is implemented rigorously, the SADC will become more resilient to drought, thus advance the agenda for industrialisation and poverty reduction, embracing the nexus approach in planning and projects design," he said.

Meanwhile, the SADC executive secretary, Dr Stergomena Lawrence-Tax implored participants to come up with practical solutions and appropriate strategies which would enable SADC to effectively implement the resolutions of the workshop.

The workshop brought together a number of key stakeholders from different sectors to act collectively in addressing the prevailing water and energy insecurity in the region.

Source: Botswana Daily News


Category: Technology

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