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Mar 20, 2012

Africa's Hydropower Potential - Part of the New UN World Water Development Report

   Photo: Inga Dam in Bas-Congo, 
1973 courtesy “Exploring Africa” 
(MSU and University of Wisconsin).  
Inga Water Falls has a 90 m drop
and discharges more water
on an annual basis than any other
water fall in the world.
There are 2 dams at Inga with a
third one under construction 
On 20 March 2012, SciDev.Net reported on the release of fourth edition of the United Nations World Water Development Report (WWDR4).  This reports provides a global overview of the world's freshwater resources.  One of its conclusions was that developing countries in Africa had yet to realize potential energy from hydropower.

WWDR4 was released at the 6th World Water Forum held in Marseilles, France.   It is updated from previous editions with a new emphasis on how water relates to other international development topics such as: water supplies, uses, management, institutions and financing, regional hotspots, gender equality, disaster preparedness, heath, and environmental ecosystems.  The report advocates that water be included in "decision-marking across the whole development spectrum" and not be placed in a "water box" exclusive of other public policy decisions.

WWDR4 cites as the following three examples as potential hydropower solutions in Africa:
  • Southern African Power Pool (SAPP), founded in 1995 is under the authority of the Southern African Development Community.  It was 12 members including: Angola, Botswana, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Mozambique, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  
  • Western African Power Pool founded in 2000 is under the authority of the Economic Community of West African States.  It has 13 member including: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.
  • The projected expansion of Inga hydroelectric dams in the Democratic Republic of Congo has the potential to generate 80% of the electricity used in Africa by 2020.

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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