August 06th, 2008 | Xinhua ADB calls for alternative fuel-producing crops
Promoters of bio-fuels need to come up with second and third generation energy crops that will not compete with food crops, African Development Bank (ADB) president Donald Kaberuka has said.
Kaberuka has implored southern African countries to pool their resources and address the energy crisis through regional investment in energy infrastructure instead of trying to implement efforts individually, according to Times of Zambia on Tuesday.
Featuring on the Zambian National Brodcasting Corporation’s cultural remodeling on Sunday evening, Kaberuka said Africa must be extra cautious about the promotion of energy crops.
He said he was skeptical about the huge investments going into energy crops production for extraction of bio-fuels, because the move was diminishing food production to levels that, if not checked, the world would come to regret.
He said there was too much stress on how useful the bio-fuels would be to the world that was grappling with high fuel prices, but no emphasis was placed on how the ever-increasing population would be fed if the energy crops production surged exponentially to food production.
Kaberuka, who left Zambia at the weekend after a two-day visit, said there was also need for the world to pay more attention to the plight of Africa in the face of climate change.
He said the continent was suffering the effects of other regions that were producing massive industrial emissions, attributable to the climate change and global warming, yet Africa was not represented in all discussions about the impact of climate change.
Kaberuka said southern Africa has potential for hydro-power production but lacked meaningful investments in infrastructure, hence the need for the countries to develop regional capacity for addressing the problem of power shortage.
The ADB chief also commended Zambia for embracing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), which was aimed at promoting transparency of the usage of revenues from firms and activities in the industry.
Kaberuka said many African governments took over the management of their countries’ resources after colonialism, but instead of benefiting on a long term, they had suffered losses because of corruption and mismanagement.