190m people in SADC have no electricity
EZULWINI – Over 190 million people are in dire need of access to electricity in southern African region, the King of Swaziland, Mswati III has revealed during the just ended SADC Energy Investment Forum here last week.
Mswati III the chairperson of SADC noted that currently the region is faced with several challenges which affect the live-hood of the people such as unemployment, insufficient electricity and water services that hinder the drive towards achieving industrialization goals.
He further stressed that it is disturbing to note that out of over 292 million people in the region, only 60 percent has access to safe drinking water while only 40 percent has access to adequate sanitation facilities.
The King he is hopeful that the national energy projects presented by Swaziland and those of the SADC Region will be able to attract funding and partnerships from financial institutions and investors.
She said the investment forum came at the opportune time in order to ensure that energy plays its rightful role in the region’s industrialisation drive.
Tax said the fact that 58 percent of the African population does not have access to electricity has serious negative implications for productivity, and therefore aspirations to industrialise.
“In the 21st Century women are still cooking with fuel wood and charcoal, spending many hours collecting wood and other biomass, thus denying them the valuable time for other productive activities.
“This happens when Africa and indeed the SADC Region has abundant supply of solar, hydropower, wind and geothermal potential, as well as significant amounts of natural gas and in some countries coal deposits”, said Tax.
The Executive Secretary said the region therefore has to move quickly to unlock the energy potential in order to accelerate the drive towards our goals of regional integration, through among others, a reliable base load power to drive industrial growth and thus economic prosperity and poverty eradication.
And for this to happen, SADC has to take advantage and effectively develop and utilize the abundant sources of energy through the emerging technologies and alternative business models that will facilitate investments in this critical socio-economic sector.