Ethiopia hosts 6th World Hydropower congress

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Ethiopia hosts 6th World Hydropower Congress
The Ethiopia Renaissance dam is the biggest hydopower dam in the country

On Tuesday this week, leaders and specialists with hydropower-related responsibilities from government, industry, finance, United Nations agencies, academia and civil society will convene in Ethiopia for a major hydropower congress.

The 6th World Hydropower Congress (WHC) is 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.

The Hydropower congress, to be held for the first time in Africa, will explore a diversity of perspectives and examine how initiatives of governments, businesses, finance, civil society and academia can advance sustainable development.

The conference comes to Africa for the first time and will emphasise environmental and social aspects to consider during hydroelectric project planning stages as well as a commitment to better hydro at a time when resource management is more important than ever.

The event will seek to chart the way forward 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 three-day Hydropower congress builds 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.

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.

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.

The meetings comes at a time when a new Atlas released at the World Economic Forum in South Africa raises concerns that Africa has the least energy consumption in the world. The Atlas fronts green energy as a sure way to tackle the continent’s energy woes.

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