Africa is well-endowed with a variety of renewable and non-renewable energy resources. Yet, most African countries are characterized by low access to affordable and reliable modern energy services. It is therefore critical and urgent to address the continent’s energy needs in order to unlock its development potential. At the same time the continent’s energy sector needs to evolve rapidly to be able to respond to local and global environmental concerns, especially climate change, and to significantly reduce reliance on fossil fuels, which are often imported.
This new Energy Sector Policy provides a general framework that will help the Bank addresses this dual challenge. It has the following objectives: (i) to support Regional Member Countries (RMCs) in their efforts to provide all of their populations and productive sectors with access to modern, affordable and reliable energy infrastructure and services; and (ii) to assist RMCs develop their energy sector in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable manner.
Nine key principles will guide the Bank’s interventions in the energy sector: (i) ensuring energy security and increasing access for all, (ii) moving towards a cleaner energy path, (iii) enhancing governance at the national level, (iv) innovating to increase financial flows in the energy sector, (v) integrating aid effectiveness principles, (vi) promoting social and environmental responsibility, (vii) integrating a response to climate change, (viii) fostering knowledge transfer and (ix) mainstreaming the gender dimension. The Policy focuses on sub-sectors that are the most likely to address current and future energy demands, while contributing to the development of a sustainable energy sector. However, since access to energy varies across regions and countries, subject to available resource endowments, the Bank will tailor the supply options to specific energy needs of countries and segments of the population. The Medium-Term Energy Strategies will propose operational action plans to ensure an optimal implementation of this Policy.
This Policy was developed on the basis of broad based consultations internally within the Bank Group and externally with all the stakeholders, including the RMCs, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs), the private sector, development partners and the civil society. The consultation process was conducted in a number of ways: (i) internal consultations within the Bank Group through a Cross-Complex Technical Working Group under the guidance of Senior Management; (ii) regional workshops with all the stakeholders in Khartoum in July 2011 and Dakar in August 2011; and (iv) 60-day online comment period during which the draft policy was posted on the Bank Group’s website to obtain feedback from stakeholders.
To afford Stakeholders the opportunity to see how their input and comments have been addressed, the proposed Policy is simultaneously disclosed to the Public with its distribution to the Board.