New investments in powers needed in SADC – Swazi PM
By Gugu Mahlalelae
EZULWINI – SADC needs a very substantial amount of new investment in energy and infrastructure for rapid and inclusive industrialisation, Swaziland Prime Minister Dr Sibusiso Dlamini has said.
Speaking when he officially opened the 36th Joint Meeting of SADC Ministers Responsible for Energy and Water here Tuesday, Dlamini said the focus of the High Level Ministerial Workshop and Investment Forum should be mobilizing resources for sustainable energy infrastructure in the SADC region.
He said the theme of the meeting recognized the key and mutually-dependent pillars which were sustainable energy infrastructure, resources mobilization and inclusive SADC industrialization. He said during the Extraordinary Summit for SADC Heads of State and Government in March 2017, Ministers were motivated and mandated to convene a High Level Ministerial Workshop and Regional Investment Conference on Regional Energy Projects.
“The time has arrived and the objective of the mandate is clear to us all, for more rapid and inclusive industrialization in our region, we need for a very substantial amount of new investment in energy and infrastructures. Todays’ meeting will enable us to take stock and discuss strategies for the critically important two days ahead,” he said.
Dlamini said SADC knew what to do to achieve industrialization growth but equally knew that the necessary infrastructure demanded resources that the region did not have.
The Prime Minister said the SADC region relatively starts from a weak base, as the existing infrastructures for both power and water did not meet a large proportion of the basic social needs of the people, let alone satisfy the massive energy and water needs of an industrialized economy of the present day. He said that electricity in some of the member states was below 20 percent while only 60 percent of the SADC population had access to drinking water.
The Minister of Natural Resources and Energy Jabulile Mashwama said SADC member states had priotirised several power generation, interconnector and transmission infrastructure projects under the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP) Plan.
He said other energy infrastructure projects were being developed and implemented by individual member states including those on increasing gas and refining capacity in the region.
She said on the issue of climate change, member states had opted into the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative and are at various stages of development and implementation of their Action Agendas which will present national implementation frameworks for SDG 7 on Sustainable Energy as well as their Investment Prospectuses.
Pheri Ramoeli acting director infrastructure of the SADC Secretariat said water and energy were one of the most important resources that needed due attention and access to them is paramount. He said these resources play a major role in the development and live hood of the people.