Chairperson of the SADC committee of ministers responsible for energy and water, Nancy Tembo, says there is a need for urgent attention to the challenges to support economic growth and integration of the region.
"The environmental challenges range from acute water and energy shortages to extreme effects of climate change in recent years, which are characterized by drought in some areas, and floods and cyclones in others," she said on Thursday when she was opening a joint meeting for the ministers in Blantyre.
Tembo says although there are the challenges, the region is on the right track on meeting regional integration.
“For example, on power supply and demand, progress has been made in line with the Regional Infrastructure Development Master Plan, Energy Sector Plan and the SAPP Plan aimed at addressing regional energy needs.
“In this regard, the region was able to commission 2, 400 Megawatts in 202-21 contributed by Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania,” she said.
The Chairperson also hinted on the need to ensure citizens in the member states access quality water.
“The performance in the water sector indicates that out of over 400 million people in the region, 60% of the population has access to safe drinking water while only 40% has access to adequate sanitation facilities.
“This unfortunate record is a serious indictment on the region’s efforts to roll out water and sanitation infrastructure services,” she said.