Africa’s Decade of Sustainable Energy for All launched at AfDB Meeting in Kigali

10 June 2014

May, 2014 | Kigali  Dr. Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, and Kandeh Yumkella, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General and Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative, have officially launched the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All in Africa.

To date, 42 African countries have signed up to the Sustainable Energy for All initiative. At a high-level discussion held during the AfDB's Annual Meetings on May 19 in Kigali, Yumkella stressed the need for these countries to take ownership of the initiative's objectives through national action plans and performance indicators. The SE4ALL initiative's objectives are as follows: ensuring universal access to modern energy services, doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

During his speech, Dr. Kaberuka urged African countries to work on energy regulations and policies in order to encourage investment in energy: particularly in renewable energies. "…Africa has significant energy resources, including renewable energies, which, if used effectively, could bring electricity to the entire continent. However, this will require better regional integration of energy markets…" Kaberuka explained. 

On a similar note, the African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Elham Mahmoud Ibrahim, added: "…There are currently several ambitious transnational electricity connection projects underway across Africa, such as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). The diversification of energy resources will encourage greater private-sector investment..." 

For his part, Richard Konteh, State House Chief of Staff from Sierra Leone, stressed the importance of the three SE4ALL objectives, explaining that around 40% of his country's electricity was lost in transmission and distribution networks.

Silas Lwakabamba, Minister for Infrastructure in Rwanda, explained how important the SE4ALL initiative was for Rwanda. He also mentioned the government's commitment to achieving the country's electrification objectives: bringing electricity to 70% of the country and to rural areas in particular, by 2017, compared with the current coverage of 18%.

Grace Musaka, Eastern African Regional Director from Practical Action stressed the important role energy plays in the economic development of women. "…African women currently spend an average of more than 20 hours a week gathering water and wood for their household. Improved access to energy services will allow them to spend this time working and earning a living. This, in turn, will enable them to contribute to the development of their country…"

In late 2012, the UN General Assembly officially announced that 2014–2024 would be the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All. The situation is particularly complex in Africa, where 57% of the population is still without access to electricity. This figure falls to 37% in urban areas, but rises to 72% in rural areas.

The launch of the Decade of Sustainable Energy for All by the AfDB  is a logical progression in its’ commitment to sustainable energy -- as the AfDB hosted the African Platform of the first Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL)  initiative, in partnership with the African Union, NEPAD and UNDP . The aim of the [African] platform has been to coordinate and facilitate implementation of the SE4ALL initiative across Africa.

The AfDB has made a solid commitment to sustainable energy in Africa. With its’ climate-related funding instruments - used to finance the renewable energies sector, AfDB is playing a critical role in bringing clean, renewable energy to Africans. The AfDB administers the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), which supports the SE4ALL objectives in Africa.

Category: Energy

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