Central African countries commit to move forward on SE4All and address energy access challenge

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The Economic Community for Central African States (ECCAS) and the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC) with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) convened Central African countries for an expert and ministerial meeting. The purpose of the gathering was to validate the white paper on regional policy for universal access to modern energy services and economic and social development in the context of UN-led Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative. The meeting was held from October 14-18 in Yaoundé, Cameroun. The SE4ALL Africa Hub, hosted by the African Development Bank’s Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department, actively contributed to discussions.

As outlined in the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) newly launched Africa Energy Outlook 2014, Central Africa faces the largest discrepancy in Africa between available energy resources and available generation capacity as well as access to modern energy services. According to IEA projections, without a change in policy, more than half of Central Africa’s population will remain without electricity access in 2040.

The meeting took place following the successful launches of the SE4ALL Action Agenda for the ECOWAS region in March, and for Eastern and Southern African countries in May in Addis Ababa. All 10 Central African countries have opted in to SE4ALL, although the majority still need to initiate the next steps of the SE4ALL country action process. Over 60 participants from the region attended the workshop as well as development partners and Ministers of Energy from the countries. SE4ALL Africa Hub Coordinator Daniel-Alexander Schroth from the AfDB’s Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department outlined the opportunities presented by the initiative. He highlighted the SE4ALL Action Agenda process, based on the Action Agenda template developed by the Africa Hub. Basile Atangana Kouna, the Minister of Energy and Water of Cameroon noted, on behalf of the Energy Ministers, “SE4ALL is a real opportunity and the White Paper deriving from it will advance our regional integration. The White Paper is an instrument of our Vision”.

The SE4ALL Action Agenda is a strategic and holistic national document looking at the three objectives of universal energy access, and doubling the share of renewables and the rate of energy efficiency improvements in an integrated manner. The agenda will serve as an umbrella framework for the energy sector through 2030 that also includes the links between energy and food security, gender, health, and water, etc. In his opening remarks, Schroth said, “SE4ALL – notably through the Action Agenda process – offers Central Africa an opportunity to address the major energy sector challenges it faces. This process will be key to help mobilize the required investments.” The Ministers of Energy validated the white paper and adopted a resolution that inter alia calls upon Central African countries to advance on SE4ALL objectives at country level through the development of SE4ALL Action Agendas and Investment Prospectuses. The SE4ALL Africa Hub is already supporting several African countries in this process.

The African Development Bank hosts the SE4ALL Africa Hub in partnership with the African Union Commission, NEPAD Agency and UNDP.