WINDHOEK - An overarching theme at yesterday’s Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat briefing on infrastructure and services, which included an overview of regional renewable energy ventures, was the stagnation of crucial projects in the region, most of which require additional and alternative sources of funding.
The SADC Director for Infrastructure and Services, Mapolao Mokeona, lamented the fact that projects in the region are not moving forward and called for the full implementation and utilisation of the regional development fund. “SADC needs to expand the availability of project preparation financing and has to attract sources of capital,” said Mokeona.
During the same briefing yesterday, Kudakwashe Nohlukula from SADC Renewable Energy Department, said while 17 percent of the region’s energy comes from renewable sources, there is a lack of financing available to expand green energy solutions in Southern Africa. Nohlukula commended some SADC member states, such as Namibia and South Africa, for significant progress in renewable energy generation and usage.
The SADC Infrastructure and Services Directorate focuses specifically on the development and quality of strategic infrastructure in the Southern African region and has thus far developed several protocols to guide the work of the directorate including the Protocols on Shared Watercourses, Tourism Development and Energy.
The Directorate’s activities are co-ordinated by six thematic units that were identified in the Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP), the blueprint for development action in SADC. These thematic units include; Energy, focusing on electricity and hydropower development; Tourism, promoting tourism investment for infrastructure and products; Transport, providing strategic support to transport corridors and spatial development initiatives and all transport related development; Water Resources Management & Sanitation, supporting and facilitating integrated water resources management, water-related infrastructure, access to clean drinking water and sanitation; Meteorology, including a Regional Observation Network, global telecommunication systems for meteorology and Regional Climate Data Processing Centre; and Information and Communications Technologies.
The mandates of all SADC Secretariat Directorates and Units are interwoven; supporting a common agenda of regional integration. Therefore, through its mandate of supporting infrastructure development, the Infrastructure and Services Directorate equally supports socio-economic development by unlocking opportunities for Trade and Economic Competitiveness across the region. SADC believes that increasing the pace of regional development in this way, improves services, creates an enabling environment to facilitate investment in infrastructure, and reduces the cost of doing business in SADC.
The World Bank estimates that infrastructure improvements boosted growth in SADC by 1.2 percent per capita per year from 1995 to 2005, mainly from access to mobile telephones. Road network improvements made small growth contributions, while power sector inadequacy had a negative impact. Infrastructure improvements that matched those of Mauritius, the regional leader, could boost regional growth performance by three percentage points. Regional infrastructure requirements across all infrastructure sectors represent 1 percent of regional Gross Domestic Product.
Efforts continue to be made to promote private sector participation in the provision of infrastructure in an environmentally sustainable manner.