World Energy Congress: AfDB President to Stress Access to Energy as Key to Africa’s Development

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Tunis, 9 September 2010 – Participating at World Energy Congress (WEC), in Montréal, Canada, from 12-16 September 2010, the African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Donald Kaberuka, will underscore the importance for Africa to substantially increase its access to energy; make room for the private sector; and tackle the issue of climate change by tapping its vast renewable energy potential.

“Access to energy is closely linked to poverty reduction," says Mr. Kaberuka. He further points out that "insufficient energy is a major constraint in ameliorating the conditions of poverty, such as poor health, insufficient access to water, poor sanitation and inadequate education," adding that "Africa’s energy infrastructure gap is a key constraint on the continent’s economic growth potential.”

Energy infrastructure development is therefore among the priority sectors outlined in the AfDB’s public and private sector development strategy. Bank activities in the energy sector embrace various aspects, including corporate finance, project finance, public private partnerships and renewable energy.

At the Congress, the AfDB will highlight the threats posed by climate change to the continent. The AfDB delegation will also demonstrate that adverse impacts of climate change affect Africa disproportionately. They manifest themselves in more frequent occurrences of climate extremes such as floods, droughts, and heat waves.

The continent has, however, a number of options for tackling this issue, notably through clean energy development. African countries, especially sub-Saharan African countries, need to make greater use of their huge largely untapped renewable energy potential – especially hydro power, geothermal energy, solar and wind power, and more efficient utilization of biomass.

At WEC 2010, Mr. Kaberuka will deliver a presentation on Energy Poverty Alleviation, on 13 September 2010. It will be his first public appearance after his swearing-in on 1st September, 2010 as president of the continent’s leading development finance institution for another five-year term.

The World Energy Council organizes a world congress every three years and the events brings together more than 3,500 top world leaders in the energy sector, from the industry, governments, and international organizations, the media, universities and energy industry associations.