African lead­ers urged to in­vest more in en­ergy projects

Chronicle (Zimbabwe) - - Business - From Thu­peyo Mu­leya in Cairo, Egypt

AFRICAN lead­ers should in­vest more re­sources in re­new­able en­ergy projects to ad­dress en­ergy sup­ply deficit in the con­ti­nent where 60 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion is in need of elec­tric­ity.

The head of Nat­u­ral Re­sources In­sti­tute of African Re­sources and Stud­ies at the Univer­sity of Cairo, Egypt, Dr Ab­bas Sharaky, says the con­ti­nent was rich with nat­u­ral re­sources, which, if put to good use, may en­hance in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

He was ad­dress­ing stu­dents from 25 African coun­tries in­clud­ing Zimbabwe at the on­go­ing 50th train­ing for young African jour­nal­ists here.

“It is sad that among the world’s top 50 poor coun­tries, Africa has 35, yet we have nat­u­ral re­sources, which if put to good use may ad­dress some of our prob­lems,” said Dr Sharaky.

“We are lag­ging be­hind as a con­ti­nent in terms of power gen­er­a­tion in­fra­struc­ture hence African lead­ers are urged to come up with mech­a­nisms to pro­mote self-sus­te­nance and the use of re­new­able en­ergy.

“In ad­di­tion, we should shift from the mind­set of us­ing wa­ter only for agri­cul­ture pur­poses. It is very crit­i­cal that we in­crease fund­ing for con­struc­tion of hy­dro-elec­tric­ity plants, es­pe­cially in the Great Lakes re­gion to re­duce the deficit in terms of power sup­ply.”

He said power sup­ply is­sues were rife in the most re­mote ar­eas of the un­der de­vel­oped coun­tries.

Dr Sharaky also said the avail­abil­ity of elec­tric­ity would un­lock in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in man­u­fac­tur­ing and min­ing sec­tors. He said it was also im­por­tant for gov­ern­ments to come up with in­clu­sive poli­cies that seek to up­scale self-sus­te­nance from grass­roots level.

“Some of the po­ten­tial sources of re­new­able re­sources in Africa in­clude wa­ter, wind, bio-di­ver­sity, so­lar and min­er­als,” he said.

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