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Africa must diversify energy mix says Museveni

Yoweri Museveni,
Uganda’s President
27 November 2008 – Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, has said Africa needs to diversity its energy mix and use alternative energy sources in order to attract investment and help meet the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

“If we don’t develop electricity facilities, how shall we achieve the MDGs?” he asked. “Electricity together with transport will lower the cost of doing business and open investment opportunities.”

Achievement of the MDGs must be done by 2015 and include eradicating poverty and hunger, universal education, gender equality and reducing child mortality.  Also, maternal health improvement, AIDs and malaria combating, environmental sustainability and developing global development partnerships.

“We can use hot springs to generate electricity,” Museveni said. “The African Rift Valley system has a potential to generate about 14,000MW from geothermal which is small but it is better than nothing.”

492KwH per capita is consumed by Africa, compared with 7 700 for the US and 3 000 for the European Union.

Commenting on this small number, Museveni called for more use of renewable energy resources.  He continued that Uganda would continue building dams along with Nile, despite donor criticism.

“I can no longer listen to anybody as far as electricity is concerned.”

“We created the energy fund which will enable us enter a public private partnership to co-fund energy projects,” said Museveni.

In order to promote more geothermal generation, the Ugandan government has intervened to reduce geological risk, agreed on a standard power purchase agreement and provided an enabling environment for private sector participation.

“That will make the business environment predictable, and fasten negotiations with the private sector and bring down the transaction costs,” he said.