ADIS ABEBA, June 19 (Xinhua) – African policymakers and policymakers on Wednesday urged coordinated efforts to combat the current deficit access to energy, with special emphasis on investments in the renewable energy sector.
They made the urgent appeal during a continental renewable energy conference, which was held on Wednesday in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa under the theme "Overcoming the energy access deficit in Africa."
The Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) Vera Songwe, who noted that "unreliable and expensive quality is the norm in most African countries," urged African countries and development partners to meet the challenge of Africa. and ambitious agenda ".
"Africa needs to raise its levels of ambition and strengthen its policies to close its energy gap, increase competitiveness and boost its inclusive and sustainable development," Songwe said.
According to the chief of the CEA, mega-trends on the continent, including a growing population, a growing middle class population, industrialization, climate change, rapid urbanization and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) "will lead to a significant increase in demand for energy. "
"We simply can not have a successful AfCFTA without sufficient and reliable energy," Songwe said. "We need a lot of electricity and heat to produce the goods we need to market within the AfCFTA and also to power the services we need."
According to Songwe, the path to a prosperous Africa – which aspires to great progress in education, health, employment opportunities for the growing young African population and better opportunities for women "is unattainable without energy in the heart."
Songwe also emphasized the need for "big investors to work with local people if they are to make rapid progress in delivering clean and renewable energy on the continent."
"We can deliver the energizing of Africa's development with greater ambition if we create strong partnerships to ensure the right public-private partnership models for financing the transformation of green energy to Africa we want by 2063," she said. .
According to data from the African Union (AU), more than 600 million people across Africa currently "remain without access to electricity".
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has also previously revealed that Sub-Saharan Africa "has the potential to jump to a new development path fueled by natural gas and renewable."
The continent, which accounts for 13% of the world's population, is the one that least demands energy compared to other parts of the world, with only 4% of world energy demand – half of which is biomass energy. sources "causing serious health impacts," according to the IEA.
According to the CEA, in many African countries with low rates of access to electricity, the energy generated was not fully consumed due to lack of transmission and distribution, adding that "this situation hinders and will continue to hamper the competitiveness of the continent's tradable goods ". industries. "
Conference participants also on Wednesday proposed the development of a model for innovative, clear and consistent policies and regulatory stability, business models and incentives to increase investor confidence as an approach to boost investment in the renewable energy sector.
The ECA also revealed that it is conducting a review of policy and regulatory structures in Africa, including country-specific, demand-based support.
The President of the RES4Africa Foundation, Antonio Cammisecra, co-hosted the annual conference, also echoed the call by the Executive Secretary of the ECA to emphasize the need for more focused efforts in the development of renewable energy sources in Africa.
Cammisecra said the high-level conference "provides a unique opportunity to consolidate and expand a well-established dialogue" with key stakeholders from the public and private sectors, multilateral institutions and civil society organizations working to accelerate access to clean energy .
The annual high-level energy conference brought together more than 200 energy policy experts and policy makers in an effort to identify strategic priorities for expanding access to renewable energy throughout Africa.