Durban, South Africa Dec. 14, 2000 SolarQuest® iNet News Service
The US Under-Secretary of Energy, Ernie Moniz, gave a lecture today concerning the potential for US investment in the African Energy Sector.
He began his speech by explaining that although Africa has recently evolved, and is involving themselves in many projects to encourage good inter-African relations, "cross-border co-operation" must continue to grow. He stated that the value of collaboration between African counries would result in accelerated economic growth and an increased resource base. This, in turn, would result in the improvement of infrastructure.
Mr Moniz continued that energy revenues equal a large source of income. If these resources were managed properly, economic growth would occur and again this would result in the improvement of health and education services and it would be a start towards poverty alleviation.
Mr Moniz believes that privatisation would result in increased efficiency, and that US investors are ready and willing to assist. He explained that due to Africa's politically unstable history, it hasn't realized it's potential. Here, Mr Moniz claimed, the US could help by encouraging investors.
Mr Moniz stated that the challenges that lay ahead for Africa were as follows:
• the absence of privatisation
• there has been no progress in pricing structure refroms
• there is a distinct lack of public awareness about energy issues
• due to apparent political instability, investors were scared away by the high risk investment that Africa offered.
Mr Moniz believes that to meet these challenges, rural development must be encouraged. Africa must strengthen her capacity to manage and minimize the environmental impact of her people, and renewable energy sources must be promoted to reduce greenhouse gass emissions.
Mr Moniz concluded that the most important factor in assisting Africa's development was to encorporate the private sector into projects and enterprises.