AfDB Urges Investment in Africa's Energy Sector at High-Level Climate Conferences

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“The multi-billion dollar financing gap in Africa’s energy sector, coupled with the continent’s abundant untapped natural resources, creates an opportunity to attract private investment, accelerate growth, and embark on a sustainable and lower carbon growth path.” This was the message Hela Cheikhrouhou, director of the AfDB’s Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department, gave to two high-level conferences in Scandinavia in October 2011.

She joined other leaders of financial institutions, multilateral organizations, utilities, civil society, and governments of donor and recipient countries from around the world at "Energy for All - Financing Access for the Poor” in Oslo, Norway on 10 and 11 October 2011.  Co-organized by the Norwegian government and the International Energy Agency, the conference sought to explore financing mechanisms and supporting policies for increased energy access in the context of a more sustainable energy future. Participants shared best practices in policy design and implementation for increasing energy access and focused on the necessary steps to attract private investment in energy and climate financing.

Ms. Cheikhrouhou later joined the first annual Global Green Growth Forum (3GF) held in Copenhagen on 11 and 12 October. This invitation-only event brought 200 global leaders from business, finance and public institutions to discuss best practice initiatives, supportive policies and collaboration opportunities to accelerate green growth. Participants divided into parallel strategy sessions to debate issues surrounding energy and finance and transport. Outcomes then fed broader strategic discussions to ensure that overarching policy debates were informed by hands-on knowledge and experience with regards to the barriers, opportunities and solutions for advancing green growth initiatives. 3GF is being established by the Danish government in partnership with the South Korean Government and developed in association with the Global Green Growth Institute, as a global public-private partnership for green growth.

Outcomes from both conferences will inform the COP17 Summit in Durban, South Africa in November and December 2011 and the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO 2012) in June 2012.