|Today I had the opportunity to speak with Mr Richard Worthington who is a key member of the Earthlife Africa Organization (Johannesburg).
What did you expect to come of this conference?
I didn't really know what to expect from something like this, but I was hoping for more substantial discussion on a more general basis, rather than the focuss on smaller schemes that, although in their own right have been successful, are really on the periphery of the key energy issues within Africa.
What larger issues would you have preferred to be discussed?
A key issue which should have been discussed is the ambition of ESKOM to become The Energy Supplier for Africa, creating a monopoly and much environmental degredation. Another, perhaps more important Pan-African issue that really should have been discussed at an African Energy Conference is South Africa's aim to sell nuclear power to the rest of Africa. I feel that this conference is confronting safe issues and skirting controversial ones.
Do you think this apparent neglect of certain issues was unintentional or was there a "hidden agenda"?
I think that many involved did not want to risk offending corporate interests, and many are pandering to sources of potential investment.
What would you like to see as an outcome of this conference?
I would like to see a clear and explicit commitment to renewable energy sources.
What are you expecting of the US and their involvement in the conference?
I'm not expecting much of the United States - I believe that they see this as a promotional opportunity to give the States a "human friendly" face over here in Africa. I believe that their involvement in this conference is economic expansion dressed as social development.