VARIOUS international organisations have vowed to assist the Southern African Development Community in promoting energy efficiency within the region.
The organisations, which include the European Union (EU), the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido), and the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) said this at a two-day conference where industrial energy efficiency programmes in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region were discussed.
The conference, which started last Thursday, and ended on Friday in Windhoek, is the first industrial energy efficiency conference in the region.
Organised by the SADC Centre For Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (Sacreee), the conference was attended by a number of representatives from around the world.
Themed 'Stimulating Industrial Competitiveness through Energy Efficiency and Innovation in the SADC Region', members will focus on ways to attain industrial competitiveness.
Over the two days, delegates discussed the status of industrial energy efficiency within the SADC region, announced their findings and best practices, as well as outlined investment opportunities.
The conference also explored potential barriers that industrial energy and energy efficiency may have on competitiveness.
Speaking at the official opening, mines minister Tom Alweendo commended the initiative as a platform to promote discussions on mitigation methods to tackle issues such as climate change in the region.
"The SADC region as a whole is facing a devastating drought due to poor rains received during the 2018/19 rainfall season," he said.
According to Alweendo, hydropower is still a dominant energy resource in the region, contributing 21% of the installed capacity of the regional power pool.
"The power supply situation calls for accelerated efforts in adopting and implementing energy efficiency and other climate change measures", he added.
Andreas Pfleger, from the Austrian Development Agency, said energy is a topic that concerns the global community.
"The importance of regional and global cooperation when it comes to energy and energy efficiency cannot be overstated, and this conference is a key element in advancing the topic of energy efficiency, especially in industrial use and building awareness," Pfleger said.
Claudia Fischer, who spoke on behalf of the EU, said the union is committed to supporting sustainable energy inside and outside Europe.
"In Africa, we are closely working with regional organisations such as SADC to share our experiences," she noted, adding that the EU is of the opinion that energy is the sector on which SADC can depend in the coming years as it serves as a means for development and investment, and as a vehicle to create employment.
"The EU has committed resources to support the SADC energy efficiency initiatives," Fischer stated.
With the support of the EU, Sacreee had developed the SADC industrial energy efficiency programme (Sieep) in 2018.
The programme will support the region to attain industrial competitiveness, and is designed to address barriers to energy efficiency in industry.