EU in­jects M100m into en­ergy sec­tor

Lesotho Times - - News - Pas­cali­nah Kabi

THE Euro­pean Union (EU) and Le­sotho gov­ern­ment yes­ter­day signed a M100 mil­lion fi­nanc­ing agree­ment in Maseru for tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance to help re­form the en­ergy sec­tor in the coun­try.

It is also ex­pected that the re­sul­tant en­ergy de­vel­op­ment projects will also en­able Ba­sotho women to ac­cess clean and sus­tain­able en­ergy.

EU Am­bas­sador, Michael Doyle said the fund­ing will be used to ex­plore in­no­va­tive ap­proaches to­wards sus­tain­able en­ergy in Le­sotho and that a call for pro­pos­als “for pi­lot­ing in­no­va­tive en­ergy projects” par­tic­u­larly or ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing in re­mote ar­eas would be an­nounced by April.

“This fi­nanc­ing agree­ment is con­crete ev­i­dence of the reaf­firmed com­mit­ment made by the EU. The EU in­tends to con­tinue to play a lead­ing role in sup­port­ing the African con­ti­nent in the fight against cli­mate change and pro­mo­tion of re­new­able en­er­gies,” Am­bas­sador Doyle said.

He em­pha­sised the need for sus­tain­able catch­ment man­age­ment, adding hy­dropower gen­er­a­tion had im­mense po­ten­tial in Le­sotho.

Dr Doyle said part of EU sup­port in the first phase would be in the form of tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance to re­form the en­ergy sec­tor.

“In ad­di­tion a call for pro­pos­als for pi­lot­ing in­no­va­tive en­ergy projects will soon be launched by the EU Del­e­ga­tion. The tar­get group for projects un­der this call will be par­tic­u­larly ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties liv­ing in re­mote ar­eas, but also small and medium scale busi­nesses,” he said.

He said the pro­posed projects would have to pro­vide for an in­creased ac­cess to mod­ern en­ergy ser­vices while at the same time com­bat­ing soil ero­sion through lim­ited use of biomass and en­abling eco­nomic growth.

He said these en­ergy projects would be par­tic­u­larly ben­e­fi­cial for women as they were the most af­fected given that tasks like gath­er­ing fire­wood for cook­ing fall dis­pro­por­tion­ally on them.

He said it was a known fact that in­dus­trial growth, es­sen­tial to Le­sotho’s de­vel­op­ment, de­pended much on the pro­duc­tion of more en­ergy which in turn con­trib­uted to cli­mate change – a na­tional and global chal­lenge.

Am­bas­sador Doyle said the EU strongly be­lieved that there was a great po­ten­tial in pro­mot­ing Le­sotho’s ca­pac­ity to be a pro­ducer and ex­porter of clean, re­new­able and sus­tain­able so­lar, hy­dro and wind power en­ergy; while at the same time pro­vid­ing en­ergy ef­fi­cient de­vices at house­hold level for Ba­sotho fam­i­lies in re­mote lo­ca­tions.

Mean­while, Fi­nance Min­is­ter, Tlo­hang Sekhamane said gov­ern­ment was grate­ful for this as­sis­tance as it would go a long way in en­sur­ing that women do not walk ap­prox­i­mately 5 hours to col­lect fire­wood for house­hold en­ergy.

“Le­sotho is best placed to gen­er­ate clean and sus­tain­able en­ergy due to its lo­ca­tion and hav­ing nat­u­ral re­sources like wa­ter and wind in abun­dance; which can be used to gen­er­ate clean and sus­tain­able en­ergy,” Mr Sekhamane said.

He said the coun­try re­ceived abun­dant sun­shine through­out the year, adding this nat­u­ral re­source could be used to gen­er­ate so­lar en­ergy and help en­sure that ev­ery house­hold has ac­cess to mod­ern en­ergy.

“We just need a lit­tle bit of ef­fort. We need to cre­ate an al­ter­na­tive for young ladies in the ru­ral ar­eas who walk five hours to col­lect fire­wood and five hours back home, car­ry­ing such on their heads,” he said.

Mr Sekhamane said it was sad that the coun­try’s young women were trapped in in­ef­fi­cient jobs which took a lot of their time which could have been used to do other pro­duc­tive jobs.

The EU cur­rently sup­ports the Na­tional Uni­ver­sity of Le­sotho (NUL) with M6, 2 mil­lion for a project that is aimed at en­hanc­ing institutional, hu­man and sys­tems de­vel­op­ment ca­pac­ity of uni­ver­si­ties in the re­gion in the ar­eas of re­new­able, en­ergy ef­fi­ciency and sus­tain­able en­ergy.

Un­der the project, NUL launched in Septem­ber short cour­ses on sus­tain­able en­ergy with the hope of in­tro­duc­ing a Mas­ter’s De­gree in the near fu­ture.

EU Am­bas­sador to Le­sotho Michael Doyle flanked by En­ergy Min­is­ter Khotso Let­satsi (left) and Fi­nance Min­is­ter Tlo­hang Sekhamane dur­ing the sign­ing of the Fi­nanc­ing Agree­ment yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Lesotho

© PressReader. All rights reserved.