Sustainable Energy for All Initiative’s Africa Hub Launched

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President Donald Kaberuka launched on Friday, May 31, in Marrakech, during the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank, the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative’s Africa Hub, in a partnership with the United Nations and the Danish and American Governments.

The initiative aims to meet the objectives set by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon to ensure universal access to modern energy services, double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency, and double the share of renewable energy among world energy sources, until 2030.
The AfDB will be responsible for the Hub on the African continent, which will allow “to better coordinate and facilitate the implementation of the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, in Africa,” said Daniel Schroth, AfDB’s Hub Coordinator, during the meeting.

Over 600 million people have no access to modern energy services in Sub-Saharan Africa and rely exclusively on traditional biomass for household duties. Ironically, Africa possesses a vast number of resources in hydroelectric, solar, wind, biomass and geothermal power, but its production amounts to only 9.5% of the world’s total, approximately. In 2011, the AfDB helped to fund the production of an additional 630 MW of clean energy and estimates to double this figure in 2012.

Elham Mahmoud, the African Union’s Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, underlined “the necessity of developing regional projects of sustainable energy, mostly to limit the expenses and to increase efficiency.”

United States invests US $5 million

“Our continent has lots of clean energy resources to achieve its goals,” said Kaberuka. “This initiative is supported by Denmark and the United States. However, in the end, it’s our continent and we must find suitable internal resources in our own countries. Then, our friends may help. We’re going to optimize our internal resources.”

Earl Gast, Deputy Administrator at USAID, the US Agency for International Development, announced that his country would invest US $5 million in the Fund.

Sierra Leone’s Minister of Energy, Oluniyi Robbin-Coker, stressed the need to renovate and better maintain the existing energy infrastructure to minimize waste, adding that renewable energy projects should be regulated by a clear legal and risk mitigating framework in order to attract the private sector.

According to the International Energy Agency’s 2011 World Energy Outlook, taking into account population growth, Africa would need US $20 billion per year to achieve the goal of universal access to energy for all by 2030, as proposed by the United Nations Secretary-General in 2011.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for Africa: access to energy for all can become a reality thanks to its own energy sources and distribution networks. Right now, Africa has the opportunity to take an ecological leap never before seen anywhere else in the world.

As part of its strategy to fight the effects of climate change and develop renewable energy sources, the AfDB has helped to approve 13 investment plans from Climate Investment Funds (CIF) and start several projects, between 2009 and 2012.

For example, by taking advantage of CIF’s resources combined with the Bank’s own resources, two renewable energy projects were launched in 2011: Eskom Renewable Energy Project, in South Africa, (US $265 million from AfDB and US $100 million from CIF), and the Menengai Geothermal Project, in Kenya, (US $80 million from AfDB and US $25 million from CIF). In May 2012, the Board of the African Development Bank approved the solar energy concentration complex in Ouarzazate, Morocco (US $240 million from AfDB and US $100 million from CIF).

The AfDB’s strategy to fight the effects of climate change is already a reality. True to its commitments, the AfDB leads the way in the unleashing of innovative financing in support of new policies and new projects to fight the effects of climate change on African economies.