Addis Ababa to host 6th World Hydropower Conference

The 6th World Hydropower Congress (WHC), a multi-stakeholder forum bringing together leaders and specialists with hydropower-related responsibilities from government, industry, finance, United Nations agencies, academia and civil society, takes place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 9-11 May.

Organised by the International Hydropower Association (IHA) with the support of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the African Union Commission (AUC) and other partners, this high-level event will chart the course for hydropower development and operation over the next 10 years, aiming to ensure reliable and resilient water and energy systems in the world and to spur sustainable development for all.

The biennial conference, which is coming to Africa for the first time, will emphasise environmental and social aspects to look into during hydroelectric project planning stages, and a commitment to better hydro in an age when resource management is more important than ever.

Acting ECA Executive Secretary Abdalla Hamdok says the ECA is delighted to co-organise the congress and offer a platform to accelerate the much-needed deployment of renewable energy across Africa.

“Achieving the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals will require that we demand more from an energy source that has historically been linked to economic growth on the continent,” said Mr. Hamdok.

Ensuring universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services as called for in goal 7 of the SDGs will only be possible in a better-connected world, one where synergies and partnerships are sought among a large number of stakeholders, he added.

Richard Taylor, Chief Executive of IHA said the congress brings together a diversity of perspectives and examines how initiatives from governments, businesses, finance and civil society can converge to help deliver better hydropower and ultimately better development for all.

“Hydropower’s role is a dynamic that calls for an integrated approach, with a strongly connected sector, and a high level of collaboration,” he said.

Mr. Taylor stressed that with the right commitments, better hydropower will play an even greater role in delivering modern energy and water services in the world.

Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Seleshi Bekele, says his country is the ideal host for the congress as hydropower is its major energy source.

“Ethiopia aims to transform lives by creating economic and social opportunities through access to energy, enabling industrialisation, managing water supply and enhancing agricultural productivity,” he said.

World Bank Group Vice President for Sustainable Development, Laura Tuck, says without secure power, development efforts the world over are at risk.

“Our mission at the World Bank Group is to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. We can only achieve these goals if our clients have universal access to electricity and to a secure and stable power supply,” she said.

The Chair of the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), Liu Zhenya of China, says accelerating the implementation of global energy interconnections will promote the development, allocation and utilisation of large-scale clean energy, like hydro, wind and solar power.

“It will also provide a new platform, create opportunities, and inject energy into Africa’s economic takeoff,” said Mr. Zhenya.

The event seeks to build on a previous meeting held in 2015 in Beijing by bringing together leaders and specialists to examine how initiatives of governments, businesses, finances, civil society and academia can advance sustainable development.

Hydropower’s role as a global energy source cannot be overstated, with hydro supplying 70 percent of the world’s renewable energy to more than a billion people in 152 countries.

The 2017 World Hydropower Congress is organised by the International Hydropower Association in collaboration with the African Development Bank, the African Union Commission, the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organisation, the Economic Commission for Africa and the World Bank Group. The Ethiopian Government is co-hosting the congress.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

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Africa’s CEOs seize the opportunities that uncertainty brings

Notwithstanding the current economic and socio-political uncertainty, numerous companies in Africa are still positive about the growth potential of the continent. PwC ( research across the continent shows that 91% of CEOs are confident about their own companies’ growth prospects in the medium term. “This is the highest level of confidence since we started our research on CEOs in Africa in 2012,” Hein Boegman CEO for PwC Africa says.

Boegman was speaking on the challenges and opportunities facing Africa’s CEOs at a press briefing held by PwC at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2017 in Durban today.

One of the reasons why Africa CEOs are positive is that they tend to look to the upside and seize on the opportunities uncertainty brings. Facing a climate of muted growth at best, CEOs recognise that while they focus on organic growth and cost reductions, they also need to prioritise investment in strategic alliances and joint ventures to expand their markets and grow their customer bases.

Despite the level of optimism for growth, CEOs are concerned about uncertain economic growth and the impact this will have on their business. “The returns for doing business on the continent are high, but so are the risks. Africa’s CEOs are operating in difficult times – infrastructure on the continent remains a challenge, finding and retaining the right talent for their businesses, dealing with many of the hurdles that come with working with governments, and managing growth plans across the continent,” Boegman comments.

Given the major changes we are currently seeing in the world – such as the recent US elections and the UK’s vote to leave the EU – a key feature of the current environment is just how difficult it is to read. A single event can trigger a need for wholesale strategic changes. A case in point is the recent political and policy uncertainty in South Africa, and more particularly the recent downgrade in the country’s sovereign debt to junk status. Exchange rate volatility, an increasing tax burden, social instability resulting from inequality, and corruption remain problems in many countries.

“It is no longer enough for business leaders to steer their organisations through a complicated and challenging environment – they will need to adapt swiftly to change,” says Dion Shango, CEO for PwC Southern Africa. CEOs will need to focus on their business strategies and processes and will be expected to play a part in the broader community. CEOs will also need to consider the changing expectations and demands of current and future stakeholders. “For CEOs, their customers, government and competitors have a big influence on business strategy. Understanding their needs and working towards addressing them can help build trust, maintain reputation and lend a licence to operate.”

Anne Eriksson, Regional Senior Partner for PwC in East Africa, says “regulatory policy can also restrain growth, and in some cases, necessitate cost reduction by the businesses affected.” On the other hand, changes in regulation can also prompt strategic developments in business. Eriksson points out that regulatory change in Kenya has helped the country’s financial services sector to pay more attention to its customers. A number of multinational companies have also committed to building capacity and improving transparency and regulatory frameworks through engagement with government. “Where there has been progress, economies have benefitted and the result is more inward investment, innovation and organic growth.”

Notwithstanding the slowdown, Africa is also experiencing a number of advances economically and socially. There are significant trends that could offer new opportunities and benefits for businesses, governments and the population. In the past year, global megatrends such as demographic change, increase in urbanisation, shifts in global economic power and technological innovation are favourable to development on the continent. Across all sectors, the pace of innovation in Africa is driving greater collaboration and convergence. A number of multinational companies have committed to building capacity and improving transparency and regulatory frameworks through engagement with governments. Where there has been progress, markets have benefitted and the result is more inward investment, innovation and growth. But in order to grow and expand to its potential, Africa will need to face the political and economic repercussions of climate change, as well as safety and political instability in some areas.

“The business leader of today must deliver seamless strategy and operational excellence. Africa’s CEOs will need to overcome a number of challenges to truly transform their organisations. In the process, business needs to recognise and manage its responsibilities and dependencies,” Boegman concludes.

Distributed by APO on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).

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Office: + 27 11 028 7753/54
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Office: + 27 11 797 4470

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Deputy Foreign Minister Terens Quick to visit Cairo and Beirut

Deputy Foreign Minister Terens Quick departs for Cairo today to attend the opening of a business forum being co-organized by the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) and the Greek Embassy in Egypt. In this framework, he will also meet with Egypt’s Minister for Trade and Industry, Tarek Kabil.

Mr. Quick will also meet with the board of directors of the Greek Community of Cairo and with members of the board of the Greek Community of Alexandria.

On Thursday, 4 May, Mr. Quick will depart for Beirut, where, at the invitation of Lebanon’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gebran Bassil, he will participate in the proceedings of the “Lebanese Diaspora Energy” conference.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Hellenic Republic.

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New EU funding will provide essential nutrition treatment for 130,000 children under the age of five in Ethiopia

The European Union (EU) has given €3 million in humanitarian funds to support UNICEF’s emergency interventions in Ethiopia. The new grant will provide life-saving nutrition treatment for severely malnourished children living in drought-affected areas of the country.

In Ethiopia, below-average rainfall has worsened the situation in Somali, Afar, and parts of Oromia and Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s (SNNP) regions, already severely affected by protracted drought. Access to water, sanitation and health services in these areas is critically low. In addition, livestock deaths have further reduced communities’ capacity to cope, resulting in food and nutrition insecurity. An estimated 303,000 children under the age of five are at risk of severe acute malnutrition (SAM) in 2017.

“We are grateful for EU’s continuous and generous assistance for life-saving interventions addressing malnutrition at this critical time,” said Ms Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia. “We believe that the funding will significantly improve the health condition of children affected by the current drought and reduce the long term impact of malnutrition including life-long cognitive impairments.”

The EU humanitarian funding will support UNICEF to reduce child mortality and morbidity associated with SAM. In order to reach vulnerable children in remote areas, UNICEF will support the Government to expand existing healthcare services and provide treatment supplies – including ready-to-use-therapeutic food (RUTF), therapeutic milk, and medicines. The intervention will also aim at mobilizing communities’ awareness on preventing malnutrition.

“As devastating drought hits pastoral communities in the south and south-east of Ethiopia, bringing in its wake Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) , food and water shortages, the EU is scaling up funding to provide children with vital nutrition care,” said Ségolène de Beco, Ethiopia Head of Office for EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). “Infants and young children are extremely vulnerable to a combination of malnutrition and diseases. To avoid unnecessary deaths and suffering, we need to respond to the needs of these children in time with appropriate treatment and care.”

The concerted efforts of UNICEF with the EU, the Government of Ethiopia and other partners, will relieve the suffering of children while continuing to build long term resilience and strengthening the Government’s capacity to respond to future nutrition emergencies.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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