The 17th Congress of the Union of Producers, Transporters and Distributors of Electric Power in Africa (UPDEA) convened on 29-31 May 2012 in Hannibal Hall at the Medina Convention and Expo Centre, in Hammamet, Tunisia. The Congress was jointly organized by UPDEA and Société Tunisienne d’Electricité et du Gaz (STEG).
About 400 participants attended this Congress.
The theme of the said Congress was "Developing Africa’s energy potential and integrating power supply systems for Sustainable Development in African Countries". This theme was selected by the 16th Congress of UPDEA held in Nairobi in June 2008.
For this 17th Congress, the Scientific Committee received and reviewed a large number of presentations with a view to suggesting a program that meets the challenges of the selected theme. More than 40 presentations were made by authors themselves.
Moreover, for four years, the Study Committees have tried as much as possible to discharge the tasks entrusted to them.
This Congress has therefore made it possible, on the one hand, to continue experience sharing through discussions on the general theme and, on the other, to take stock of the activities of Study Committees over the past four years.
The ceremony was chaired by Her Excellency Dr Elham IBRAHIM, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission.
In his welcome address, Mr. Mohamed Ridha BEN MOSBAH, CEO of STEG, after welcoming the delegations, thanked the Chairman of UPDEA and all its members for maintaining this Congress in Tunis despite the hard times that the country went through during the revolution. Finally, he wished the proceedings be up to expectations for the Union to remain as it has always been, i.e., the symbol of sharing, solidarity and active cooperation among African Electricians.
Following the CEO of STEG, the UPDEA Secretary General, Eng. Abel Didier TELLA introduced the different delegations in attendance:
- 28 Active Member Utilities;
- 10 Affiliate Member Companies;
- 05 International Organizations;
- 06 Inter-African Organizations;
- 03 African Regional Power Pools;
- 47 Exhibitors.
In his speech, Mr. Edward NJOROGE, President of UPDEA and CEO of KenGen, expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the Government, to STEG and the Tunisian people for the remarkable organization of this ceremony. Besides, he noted the low rate of electrification in African countries, except in Northern and Southern Africa and called on African governments to commit resolutely to good governance and the power sector development.
In his closing remarks, after thanking all those who helped him in successfully carrying out his mandate, Mr. Edward NJOROGE passed on the torch to Mr. Mohamed Ridha BEN MOSBAH, CEO of STEG who takes over as UPDEA’s President while expressing his full confidence in the successful discharge of this new mission.
Following the President of UPDEA, support messages and strong messages focused on the theme of the Congress were delivered by international organizations in attendance, such as WEC (World Energy Council), CIGRE (International Council on Large Electric Systems), and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).
In her remarks, Her Excellency Dr Elham IBRAHIM, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission, congratulated UPDEA for establishing power pools and its task of federating African power sector utilities. She highly appreciated the study report on reforms and the best practices compendium developed by UPDEA. In addition, she encouraged African power sector decision makers to build on it in order to carry out the necessary reforms in their individual countries.
To close, she said that the African Union is committed to supporting UPDEA in its mission through the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) which provides funding for 15 projects implementable by 2020, after which, she declared the 17th Congress of UPDEA open.