The Ministers of Energy and Water from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), met on 24th May 2019 in Windhoek, Namibia, at the Safari Hotel and reviewed progress in the implementation of the Energy and Water programmes and projects and discussed the Energy and Water supply status to ensure food security and development in the SADC Region.
The Ministerial Meeting was hosted by the Government of the Republic of Namibia, and was attended by SADC Ministers or their representatives from Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The meeting was also attended by representatives from International and Cooperating Partners, United Nations Agencies, Implementing Agencies, Development Partners, Youth Representatives and was preceded by a three-day meeting of Senior Officials responsible for the two sectors.
In his keynote address, the Co-Chairperson and Minister of Mines and Energy, Tom K. Alweendo of the Republic of Namibia, noted that considerable efforts have been made on energy and water programmes and projects, and urged Member States to ensure that decisions made should be aimed at changing the lives of the citizens in addressing the energy and water issues and subsequently the overall Sustainable Development Goals. He acknowledged the progress that has been achieved so far and also outlined the challenges with security of supply in the energy and water sectors as the demand for water and energy is increasing every time with the developmental strides and also due to the ever changing climatic conditions.
The Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry for the Republic of Namibia and also Co-Chairperson e Alpheus !Naruseb acknowledged efforts being undertaken by the region on Energy and Water infrastructure projects development which are intended to drive industrialization agenda in respective Member States and having potential to be an Industrial hub.
He said the meeting came at a difficult time where parts of the Region received below normal rainfall while some parts have been affected by the Cyclones IDAI and Kenneth, which destroyed a number of water and Energy infrastructure and cause heavy casualties in Comoros, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe. He further mentioned that investing in Water and Energy Infrastructure in the SADC Region does not only have positive economic benefits but also provides trade-offs and security as well as reduced poverty levels.
The SADC Deputy Executive Secretary for Regional Integration, Dr. Thembinkosi Mhlongo, called for Member State’s guidance and support in the implementation of water and energy programmes that are aimed at contributing towards the realisation of the Revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) 2015-2020 targets. Speaking on the performance of the sectors, Dr. Mhlongo said the performance in the water sector indicates that out of the over 300 million SADC population, approximately 60% has access to safe drinking water while only 40% has access to adequate sanitation facilities. He further said that in terms of supply and demand for electricity, the Region has installed generation capacity of 71,950 megawatts (MW), therefore, in regard to the current peak demand and generation capacity reserve margins, the Region has a deficit capacity of more than 650 MW.
In the energy sector, the deliberations focused on security of energy supply, energy infrastructure development, and progress on targets from the previous Ministerial meeting decisions. The meeting also reviewed the regional power programmes and projects, petroleum and gas sub programmes, renewable energy and energy efficiency issues, energy sector regulatory sub programme implemented by the subsidiary organisations and the International cooperating partners supporting SADC Energy programme. The Ministers reviewed progress on regional gas sub programme and the ongoing regional infrastructure development initiatives in support of the regional integration.
Ministers noted progress made in the amendment of the Protocol on Energy of 1996 and approved the Roadmap to finalise the review and amendment of the Protocol, and urged Member States who have not yet acceded to the Protocol to do so.
Ministers urged Member States to commit to the Regional Priority Power Projects aimed at enhancing security of energy supply and directed the Secretariat to present a comprehensive report on energy projects that are under preparation and development by regional project preparation facilities. Ministers directed the Secretariat, assisted by Regional Energy Regulatory Association of Southern Africa (RERA), to establish appropriate structures to develop and implement regional regulatory initiatives pertaining to other energy sub-sectors namely; petroleum, gas and renewable energy under its expanded mandate.