Africa’s first major governmental conference on hydro power and sustainable development, hosted by the South African government in Johannesburg from 6-9 March, has concluded with the adoption of a Ministerial Declaration that reinforces hydro power’s role as a crucial renewable source of energy to move forward Africa’s development agenda.
The declaration emphasises the role of multi-purpose hydro power 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 realisation of this event. Strengthened collaboration of all relevant ministries is seen as fundamental for government involvement in the development of hydro in Africa.
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.
In total, 28 Ministers attended the Ministerial Conference on Hydropower and Sustainable Development, and delegates from 37 African nations. Four observer countries also took part: Norway, Sweden, Germany and Austria, as did the World Bank, African Development Bank, United Nations (UNECA and UNEP) and the African Union. Along with these delegations, there was also representation from business, industry and civil society. Spokespeople from the business and NGO communities also contributed to the ministerial dialogue, which led to the Declaration.
As far as action is concerned, officials are calling on African governments to persuade multilateral financing institutions to commit to assisting hydro power developments in the continent, with the African Development Bank (ADB) 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 building, ministers directed the African Energy Commission (AFREC) to provide a permanent secretariat for the African Hydropower Symposium, in collaboration with the International Hydropower Association (IHA).
Further details on the event can be found on the conference website by clicking on the link below.
Copies of the Ministerial Declaration and the Action Plan are available on the IHA website, also listed below.