Johannesburg, South Africa [RenewableEnergyAccess.com] Under the auspices of the African Union (AU), African ministers will develop a continental energy vision for 2025 to be monitored by ministers of finance, energy, water and environment affairs. As part of the vision, information would be gathered on case studies where hydropower projects have been developed, to serve as mentoring examples.The vision follows the four-day African Ministerial Conference on Hydropower and Sustainable Development. Delegates agreed that exploiting the potential of hydropower as renewable energy could help meet the power needs of the continent. The ministers also agreed that hydropower development should be underpinned by sound environmental and social impact assessments, mitigation and management of plans, in accordance with national regulatory frameworks and international standards of good practice. Reading the ministerial declaration at the event yesterday, South African Minister of Minerals and Energy Lindiwe Hendricks emphasized the importance of capacity building in hydropower development and climate change as critical to meeting the set goals. She said the ministers noted with concern that more than 90 percent of people in Africa had no access to electricity. In South Africa, about 75 percent of citizens have access to electricity. “…We emphasize that access to electricity is essential for achieving the objectives of Nepad [New Partnership for Africa’s Development], the Millennium Development Goals and sustainable development,” said Hendricks, and explained that the conference also noted that less than 70 percent of hydropower potential in Africa had been developed. The conference also called on multilateral and bilateral funding agencies to engage African countries on hydropower development, promote national and regional projects and innovative funding mechanisms. As part of the action plan, South Africa and Egypt will help other African countries develop their designated national authorities for Clean Development Mechanisms and provide technical assistance in project development. AU member states are expected to streamline their legal and regulatory frameworks and to build human capacity in support of hydropower development. Ministers will promote synergies between hydropower and other renewable energy options such as wind, solar and geothermal power and their benefits. The ministers will also request the Nepad Secretariat to speed up the establishment of centers of excellence on water, science, technology and renewable energy. Recognizing the energy deficiency in Africa, ministers will request the AU and other regional as well as international institutions to assist countries in preparing feasibility studies of key Nepad hydropower projects such as Inga Project in the Democratic Republic of Congo, to serve as a regional source of electricity. The conference invited South Africa, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA — US Government), African Ministers’ Council on Water (AMCOW) and AFREC to report the resolutions to the Commission on Sustainable Development and the World Water Forum.