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Turn energy crisis into opportunity, Africans urged

ANGELA CHISHIMBA, Lilongwe
ECONOMIC Commission for Africa (ECA) director for the sub-regional office in southern Africa Said Adejumobi has urged African countries to turn the current energy crisis into an opportunity by moving to climate-friendly energy initiatives.
Speaking during an ad hoc expert group meeting, Mr Adejumobi said African countries should accelerate solar energy as it is an alternative to hydro energy, currently affected by droughts in the region.
“Africa can leap-frog in energy production by benefitting from the progress in science and technology, in moving to climate-friendly energy production systems, which are less expensive and more durable,” he said.
The theme of the meeting is ‘The energy crisis in Southern Africa: Perspectives for the future’.
Mr Adejumobi said the decline in rainfall in the last one year in the region is putting pressure on hydro-electricity generating capacity as energy supply sources such as the Kariba Dam are dwindling.
“Water allocation for electricity generation is plummeting from around 45 billion cubic metres to 33 billion cubic metres per annum, decreasing electricity supply by around 400 megawatt,” he said.
Earlier, Malawi secretary to the treasury Ronald Mangani said sufficient energy is crucial for the well-being and livelihood of the people, and is a pre-requisite for the continent’s industrialisation effort.
He said the SADC region is facing energy challenges as a result of economic growth of more than five percent achieved in most member states, leading to unprecedented growth in electricity consumption and demand.
Dr Mangani also said inadequate investments in generation and transmission infrastructure over the last 20 years has also led to the energy crisis.
“The energy crisis that has affected Southern Africa has not spared Malawi. The government has, however, instituted a number of energy-efficient support measures including compact fluorescent lamp distribution and energy awareness, among others,” he said.

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