Uganda’s Vice President commends NBI efforts in addressing energy challenges

KAMPALA, Uganda - The Vice President of the Republic of Uganda, H.E. Edward Ssekandi has underscored the importance of joint implementation and exploitation of hydropower options on shared water resources in addressing the everlasting regional energy demands and challenges.

He called on Nile Basin countries to take into consideration the larger river basin context and ensure optimization of the development opportunities as well as efficient location and operation of the hydropower infrastructures, while preparing their power development plans.

H.E. Ssekandi was speaking as guest of honor during the 8th Regional Nile Day celebrations held at the Sheraton Kampala Hotel in Uganda on 21st February 2014. The theme for the celebrations was 'Water and Energy, National Challenges, Trans-boundary Solution'.

"I am happy to note that under the ongoing cooperation on the Nile, major regional water infrastructural developments are being planned throughout the basin such as major multipurpose reservoirs for hydropower production and irrigation', he said.

The Chairperson of the Nile Council of Ministers who is also South Sudan's Minister of Electricity, Water and Irrigation, Hon. Jemma Nunu Kumba said with the realization of the various hydropower development and power pooling investment projects prepared by the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), the hitherto meager power accessibility figures in the region are poised to rise to acceptable levels.

The Executive Director of the NBI Secretariat, Eng. Teferra Beyene was happy to note that NBI has built a level of inter-riparian trust, confidence and a sense of shared mutuality that hardly existed before.

Nile day 2014 was jointly organized by NBI and the Ministry of Water and Environment, in collaboration with the Nile Basin Discourse and Global Water Partnership Eastern Africa.  Activities to mark the day included a procession in the capital Kampala led by the police brass band, a key note speech on the theme, ministerial speeches, exhibition, children's performance as well as cultural performance.

Participants included Ministers in charge of Water Affairs in the NBI Member States, other Ministers in Uganda, diplomats, Members of Parliament, civil society, academia, media and school children.

Next year's Regional Nile Day celebrations, the 9th in a series, will take place in Khartoum at the invitation of Hon. Mutaz Musa Abdalla Salim, Minister of Water Resources & Electricity of The Sudan.