Press Release 20 February 2012
World Energy Council welcomes its 21st African member
The World Energy Council (WEC) welcomes Zimbabwe as the latest member committee in Africa to join the world's largest inclusive and impartial all-energy forum working towards a sustainable energy future. As the 21st African member country, Zimbabwe follows Chad and Bolivia, which joined the WEC at the end of 2011, and brings the WEC network to 93 member countries representing over 3000 energy-related businesses and organizations worldwide.
Zimbabwe is the 3rd largest power consumer in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Bank. It is developing a number of energy ventures, including a joint project with neighbouring Zambia to build the Batoka hydropower plant on the Zambezi River.
Dr Liberty Mhlanga, Chairman of the WEC Zimbabwe Member Committee and former Chairman of Zimbabwe's Agricultural Development Authority, says:
"Zimbabwe is excited to have joined the world's biggest energy forum. This is a great achievement for us. For several months we have tried to bring together different energy stakeholders in Zimbabwe, ranging from power producers, environmentalists, petroleum companies, bioenergy producers, and consumers, in order to create a forum for them to engage in dialogue and find possible solutions to a sustainable energy future. Having a WEC network in Zimbabwe is an ideal platform for that."
The WEC announces Zimbabwe's membership at Africa Energy Indaba, taking place this week in Johannesburg. Africa Energy Indaba is Africa's leading energy gathering which aims to facilitate interaction between energy leaders as they work towards a sustainable energy future for the continent. The event was formerly recognised as the World Energy Council's African Regional Meeting, and is well aligned with the WEC's mission to promote an affordable, stable and environmentally sensitive energy system for the greatest benefit of all. Dr Mhlanga adds:
"We are ready to work hard to develop the WEC's platform in Zimbabwe and we appreciate this is only the beginning. Zimbabwe comes from a decade of political and economic turmoil where no significant energy developments have taken place. There are actually many opportunities for investors and energy companies to partner with local companies and make the most out of Zimbabwe's energy opportunities."
Dr Liberty Mhlanga will lead Zimbabwe's network with the assistance of Mr Panganayi Sithole, Secretary of WEC Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe's membership follows the recent admission of Chad and Bolivia into the WEC network. These new members will strengthen the WEC's truly global scope in representing not only the full spectrum of the energy sector, from oil and gas to coal and renewables, but also bringing the views and knowledge of energy leaders from all regions of the world.
Dr Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council, comments:
"These new members are significant for the World Energy Council to achieve its mission. The energy-sector dialogue in our network goes far beyond the G20 countries. We believe that the transfer of knowledge, the sharing of best practice, and the building of a coherent global energy framework is needed in order to achieve sustainable energy for all, and this would only work if the vast majority of nations are included."
The pressing issues at the top of energy leader's minds vary depending on the region, according to the WEC's annual World Energy Issues Monitor. But for Africa and Latin America, while they are also concerned about energy and commodity price volatilities as is the rest of the world, these regions place energy poverty on top of their agenda.
Now, with 21 member committees in Africa and 9 in Latin America, the WEC is in an even better position than before in bringing an inclusive perspective to helping the United Nations achieve its objectives in the current "International Year of Sustainable Energy for All" and beyond.