Irena to discuss acceleration of renewable energy deployment in Africa with African ministers
- United Arab Emirates: Saturday, July 09 - 2011 at 16:42
- PRESS RELEASE
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) is hosting high-level consultations on creating broad-based cooperation on accelerating the deployment of renewable energy in Africa.
45 African countries, including nearly 30 African ministers and assistant ministers have confirmed. High level representatives from the African Union and High-level non-African delegates have also confirmed, including representatives of UNIDO, IPCC and UNEP, India, China, Germany, France, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.
The meeting will be chaired by UAE Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change, Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber - in his capacity as President of the IRENA Assembly - as well as Director General of IRENA, Mr. Adnan Amin.
The Ministerial meeting aims to jumpstart an ambitious process that includes development of scenarios and strategies for Africa, and to launch a continent-wide process to prepare African economies to address current constraints in the deployment of renewable energy.
The prioritization of Africa in IRENA's 2011 work plan is motivated by the significant challenges faced by the continent. For instance, Africa, which represents 15% of the world population, accounts for only 5% of global primary energy use today - nearly half of which is traditional biomass, a major cause of health problems and deforestation.
Furthermore, the deterioration of the quantity and quality of power infrastructure impedes growth on the African continent. The African Development Bank estimates that US$27 billion will have to be invested annually to achieve its goal of universal access to reliable, and increasingly cleaner, electric power in all the 53 countries in Africa by 2030. Yet, currently, investments in energy in Sub-Saharan African are running at about US$2 billion a year.
Commenting on what IRENA hopes to achieve through the consultations, Adnan Amin, Director-General of IRENA, said: "There is great potential for capitalizing on renewable resources in Africa provided that the right enabling environment is created. IRENA can play a role in helping governments create the necessary conditions, mapping out how to make the transition to a more sustainable energy future."
"The consultations bring together different actors to jointly identify what enabling conditions are needed, what obstacles need to be removed, what mix of solutions responds best to a country's circumstances, and how countries might gain access to the right technology, financing and investment," he added.
On his part, Dr. Al Jaber said: "The issue is not shortage of funds for investment, but rather the inability of African markets to attract a substantial share of that investment. This is largely due to a lack of coherent and consistent policies, technical, regional and institutional capacity, enabling mechanisms and regulatory frameworks, making the region comparatively unattractive for entrepreneurs and investors."
"I strongly believe that meetings such as these, with the appropriate follow up, will help mitigate these issues for the continent," he added.
Topics during the 2-day meeting include how to focus on energy as a key development issue, considering its direct bearing on multiple sectors, including industry, agriculture, water, transport, environment, health and education, among others; identifying the appropriate institutional context for spearheading implementation and how IRENA can support institutional strengthening; how partnerships can be better utilized for implementing strategies; requirements for supporting investment strategies; and, what governments can do to strengthen domestic investment environments for renewable energy.
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