ADDIS ABABA, Sufficient electric power supplies at affordable prices are key to ensuring the sustainable development of Africa, says Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn.

Addressing the opening of the 6th World Hydro-power Congress (WHC) here Wednesday, he said adequate an electric power supply was needed to realize Africa’s sustainable development goals, adding that Africa was exerting efforts to develop electric power from water and renewable energy sources to ensure sustainable development.

He admitted that there was a lack of financial resources to generate electric power from water resources in Africa, but urged African nations to encourage the participation of the private sector to simplify the problem in this regard.

Ethiopia has given priority to developing the sector and this would help the country obtain sustainable electric power supplies through preventing climate change, he added.

Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity Dr. Sileshi Bekele said this is the time for Africa to participate in development by investing in its resources to benefit more from its untapped water resources through generating renewable energy.

He noted that although Africa possesses about 12 per cent of the global hydro-electric power potential, it produces only about three per cent of global electric power. The majority of African countries, including Ethiopia, required investment finance, technology and capacity to advance hydro-power development, he added.

According to Sileshi, most African countries had already enhanced their policies, institutions and partnership platforms to be conducive to foreign investment. He also said that Ethiopia had been undertaking various activities to provide electric power for domestic use and for export to neighbouring countries.

Sileshi also pointed out that about 97 per cent of the electric power supply of the country is generated from renewable energy sources, with 89 per cent of the total coming from hydro-power sources.

The Deputy Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Dr. Kwesi Quartey, said access to modern and sustainable energy is crucial to achieving sustainable, transformative and inclusive development in Africa and said the continent’s Agenda 2063 development strategy calls for ensuring efficient, reliable, modern and sustainable energy access for all Africans, which is crucial to achieving an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.

He also said hydro-power is the most cost-effective and technological matured power generation technology among all renewable energy resources. Developing its hydro-power potential will enable Africa to meet its climate change mitigation and low carbon development objectives, he stressed.

Dr. Quartey called upon financial institutions, the private and public sectors, civil society and research institutions, from all parts of the world, to join Africa in these endeavours.


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