ICA Attends the U.S. Africa Energy Ministerial Forum in Addis Ababa, June 3-4, 2014

12 June 2014

The ICA Coordinator, Mohamed Hassan and ICA Chief Energy Specialist, Mr. Callixte Kambanda attended the The U.S. Africa Energy Ministerial (USAEM) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the 3rd and4th of June [2014]. The two-day meeting was characterized by constructive and collaborative discussion amongst all participants. 

“… It was an excellent meeting…”, said, Mohamed Hassan, “… We were very happy to see such a high level representation of U.S. government agencies … it gave us an opportunity to solidify our plans for the ICA Energy platform …  The conversations amongst all participants were candid and direct and solutions-oriented, continued Hassan, … we know the U.S. government is committed to energy and power solutions – and the meeting ended with  agreements to develop a clear roadmap to catalyze sustainable energy development across African nations…”.

The USAEM event is a direct outgrowth of U.S. President Barack Obama's travel to Africa in June-July 2013, where he called for a new level of energy and commercial engagement with Africa [Power Africa].  This June, at President Obama's direction, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, U.S. Export Import Bank Chairman Fred Hochberg, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Rajiv Shah, Overseas Private Investment Corporation President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield, U.S. Trade and Development Agency Director Leocadia Zak, Millennium Challenge Corporation Vice President of the Department of Compact Operations Kamran Khan, and U.S. Africa Development Foundation Vice-Chairman of the Board John Agwunobi offered their support to the USAEM. 

“…The discussions in panel presentations and amongst all of us [participants] was mainly focused on financing infrastructure, project preparation, energy efficiency and the Power Africa initiative… noted Mr. Callixte Kambanda, Chief Energy Specialist at the ICA, … and we were able to have meaningful discussions with our friends from the U.S. Department of  Treasury and the U.S. Department of Energy, continued Kambanda – The USAEM offered all the participants an opportunity to meet the all the U.S. agencies involved in this [Power Africa] initiative … and it was really helpful …”

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn addressed the USAEM opening plenary, noting Ethiopia's recognition of the critical role of energy in improving the wellbeing of its people. He emphasized the need to scale up investment in the production and consumption of energy services if Africa is to continue gaining strength, and he expressed appreciation for President Obama's Power Africa Initiative as a step in the right direction. He also expressed appreciation to the recently initiated long-term high level dialogue in the energy sector between Africa and its development partners and thanked the U.S. Secretary of Energy for the announcements he made earlier which are expected to elevate Africa's energy development capacity. The Prime Minister emphasized that African nations understand that in order to attract private sector financing of the energy sector, there is a need for energy prices, where they are subsidized by governments, to be raised to reflect market prices.

He underscored, however, that many African governments view electricity as a social benefit and a development tool rather than a commercial service and that this view also needs to be respected when reforming energy policy. A balanced solution must be found to both encourage investment and meet development needs. He echoed Secretary Moniz's statement that the USAEM will promote U.S.-Africa public and private sector partnerships and noted that the USAEM will open the gateway for exploring the opportunities available in Africa's energy market.

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz highlighted the United States' strong commitment to African nations' achieving their energy development goals and to the mutual economic opportunity that can be realized through this growth. He also highlighted President Obama's Power Africa initiative, noting both the progress that has been made and the continued priority that this initiative will have going forward. He announced the Power Africa "Beyond The Grid" initiative. These technologies can expand access to modern energy services and assure the reliability of off-grid energy systems. Secretary Moniz discussed the opportunity for the USAEM to yield ideas about collaboration that could advance the agenda of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit to be held in Washington, DC on August 5-6, 2014.

African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Elham Mahmood Ahmed Ibrahim provided a pan-African view of energy growth across the continent, highlighting new cooperation among African nations, most notably at the regional level, and CERA Chairman Daniel Yergin reviewed current trends in African and global energy, noting the recent developments regarding increasing production capacity and growing consumption. Fatih Birol, Chief Economist of the International Energy Agency, presented information on the scope and goals for the  World Energy Outlook 2014,  previewing a special report that will share results of a continent-wide focus on Africa.

During a closed session, Ministers discussed concrete steps to foster greater energy development and utilization. Ministers also discussed a strategy and next steps for sustainable energy infrastructure development in Africa. Topics discussed included creating technical exchanges, discussing best practices in governance, encouraging private investment, and exploring financing methods.

Ministers, other government officials, private sector representatives from the United States and Africa, and international thought leaders participated in ten panel sessions focused on a range of energy topics. Sessions focused on energy governance, U.S. and multilateral energy financing tools, mini-grid development, energy efficiency deployment, women and energy leadership, the Power Africa initiative, renewable energy development, gas utilization, regional grid stability and smart grid technologies, and technical energy capacity building exchanges.

Participants expressed great appreciation for Ethiopia's leadership in hosting the Ministerial. Ministers and senior officials from the African Union, People's Democratic Republic of Algeria, the Republic of Angola, the Republic of Benin, the Republic of Botswana, Burkina Faso, the Republic of Burundi, the Republic of Cabo Verde, the Republic of Chad, the Union of the Comoros, the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Djibouti, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, the Gabonese Republic, the Republic of the Gambia, the Republic of Ghana, the Republic of Guinea, the Republic of Kenya, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Liberia, Libya, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mali, the Republic of Mauritania, the Kingdom of Morocco, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, the Republic of Rwanda, the Republic of Senegal, the Republic of Seychelles, the Republic of Sierra Leone, the Republic of South Africa, the Republic of South Sudan, the Kingdom of Swaziland, the United Republic of Tanzania, the Togolese Republic, the Tunisian Republic, the Republic of Uganda, and the Republic of Zambia attended the meeting. Multilateral participants included the United Nations, the International Energy Agency, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and The African Development Bank. 

“… Presenters appealed to African countries [ministries] to pay serious attention to Energy Efficiency in policy design – and highlighted the fact that energy efficiency not only leads to carbon emission reduction – but helps in reducing consumption –thereby addressing the issue of energy deficit; a serious problem in several African countries…” said Kambanda.

“ … We discussed the increasing need for capacity building [training] in project preparation – and we talked about specific ideas where the ICA and the USG can collaborate … so again, we are very pleased to have participated in this meeting …” said Hassan.

Categories: Energy

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