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Hydro crucial in Africa's development agenda

Africa’s first major governmental conference on hydropower and sustainable development, hosted by the South African government in Johannesburg, 6-9 March, has concluded with the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration that reinforces hydropower’s role as a crucial renewable source of energy to move forward Africa’s development agenda.
The declaration emphasizes the role of multipurpose hydropower schemes in promoting water and energy security. South Africa’s Ministry of Minerals and Energy as well as the Ministry of Water and Forestry have both played key roles in the realization of this event. Strengthened collaboration of all relevant ministries is seen as crucial in terms of government involvement in the future promotion and development of hydropower in Africa.

As far as action is concerned, officials are calling on African governments to persuade multilateral financing institutions to commit to assisting in hydropower developments in the continent, with the African Development Bank (AfDB) playing a major role in managing funds. In addition, officials want NEPAD (New Partnership for Africa’s Development) to speed up the establishment of centres of excellence – for water, science and technology and renewable energy resources. For specific capacity build, ministers directed the African Energy Commission (AFREC) to provide a permanent secretariat for the African Hydropower Symposium, in collaboration with the International Hydropower Association.

28 Ministers and Deputy Ministers attended the Ministerial Conference on Hydropower and Sustainable Development, and delegates from 54 countries. Along with governmental delegates, there was also representation from business, industry and civil society. Spokespeople from the business and NGO communities also participated in the ministerial dialogue.

Keynote Ministerial addresses were given by the north, west, east, southern and central African regions, and a special address was given by the Vice-President of South Africa, Hon. Phumzile Mlambo-Nguka. A statement on behalf of donor countries was also made by Ms. Anita Utseth, Deputy Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Norway.

Visit the conference web site for the ministerial declaration and  actionplan

Additional information: http://www.hydropowerconference2006.co.za
News date: 11/03/2006

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