Eight former African heads of state are today meeting in South Africa for the 2012 African Presidential Roundtable to discuss solutions to energy problems which are among the most challenging for the countries.
The meeting is sponsored by the African Presidential Center at Boston University directed by Ambassador Charles Stith, former US envoy to Tanzania under President Bill Clinton.
It will also be attended by energy ministers and the sectors’ leaders.
Ambassador Stith said in a press statement that the roundtable’s focus on solutions to energy reform in Africa, represented a commitment by African leadership to tackle the problem.
“This roundtable brings together energy sector leaders and potential funders of key energy projects to meet Africa’s energy needs,” said Stith.
Participating former Africa heads includes, President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Benjamin Mkapa (Tanzania), Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo (Benin), Pedro Pires (Cape Verde), Joaquim Chissano (Mozambique), Amani Abeid Karume (Zanzibar) and Rupia Banda from Zambia.
According to the statement, some of the discussants are the Permanent Secretary of Energy in Niger, Mahamam Laounan Gaya, Hari Natarajan from the Small Scale Sustainable Infrastructure Development Fund in India, Dr Latsoucable Fall from the World Energy Council and Dr Tunde Fahm, Director CAMAC South Africa.
However, energy experts, public and private sector and students from nine international universities will be present during discussions along with ministers and diplomats.
“This is the 10th anniversary of the roundtable and the 90th year celebration of the University of Witwatersrand,” it said.
Since the African Presidential Center inaugurated the African Presidential Roundtable in April 2003, it has seen a significant growth in the size and nature of the initiative.
The involvement of formers African heads of state, foreign diplomats and international dignitaries has produced cutting-edge conversation and policy discussion about the continent.
This effort has also led to more informed policies and has the potential to influence future practices by providing sustainable and credible forum for former democratically elected African heads of states to convene around issues that affect US-Africa relations.
Last year, the main theme of the roundtable conference was Century Energy Agenda for Africa while in 2010 they discussed Solutions to Land Reforms in Africa and Leadership Challenges of Land Reform in Africa in 2009.