Ben Martins, deputy minister of state enterprises in South Africa said Africa needs to take a regional stance to meet its challenges within the energy sector.
During the official launch of the African Utility Week, at the Cape Town International Conference Centre on Tuesday, Martins urged utilities, governments and solution providers to collaborate on a regional basis to come up with solutions to the region’s water and energy woes.
He said lack of efficiency in the region’s water and energy infrastructure is due to limited investments and the inability of governments and utilities to collaborate in research, development and financing of efficiency programmes.
“Two to four percent of the region’s gross domestic product is lost to energy shortages. Regional integration can help reduce economies of scale,” said the deputy minister.
However, he gave credit to works done by the South African government and state-owned utility Eskom in improving access to electricity to its people and avoid the occurences of power shedding.
He said only 35% of the South African population was connected to the grid during the apatherd era, however, the percentage of consumers connected to the country’s grid network has risen to 85% of the total population since 1994.
The call came after Ben Ngubane, board chairman of Eskom, announced that the utility firm will increase its investments in research and development of new grid technologies and business models under efforts to improve its operations.
Government collaborations on efficiency programmes
The news follows late April's discussion on climate policy and sustainable environmental solutions between the Swedish Deputy Minister of Environment and Climate Change Eva Svedling and India's Environment Minister Ramdas Kadam.
The discussions revealed that cleaner transport is a top priority for both nations. Svedling said that Sweden has vast experience in the fields of waste management and adapting to renewable energy.
“Sweden and Swedish businesses are ready to work with India on the important transformation taking place, when it comes to smart and healthy cities, renewable energy and more,” said Svedling.
She stressed the importance of a policy framework dedicated to sustainable development in line with Sweden’s new climate law.
The Indian Express reports that Sweden has introduced a new climate law which aims at attaining a goal of zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 and a 70%t cut to emissions in the domestic transport sector by 2030.
On the topic of technology exchange, Svedling said that Sweden’s waste-to-energy model and its increased dependency on hydroelectric energy are some of the things that India could adopt. [Jamaica and Canada extend energy collaboration with MoU].
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