Nairobi, Kenya, September 20, 2012 – A leading Energy expert has urged the need to maximise on clean and sustainable energy resources in sufficient quantity to accelerate economic growth and improve the living conditions for Africa’s peoples.
Professor Mosad Elmissiry, head of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)’s Energy Programme, speaking at a joint United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and NEPAD forum in Nairobi, said this acceleration could be achieved through the effective implementation of his Agency’s Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).”
The workshop from September 19 to 21 has brought together leading experts in energy, African Union officials, governments, the private sector, development partners and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to explore how Africa can harness more of its own national resources to deliver sustainable energy for all Africans.
Key on the agenda of the three-day meeting is how best to make the PIDA mandate more effective and efficient, so as to support industrial growth in Africa. One of PIDA’s objectives is to ensure universal access to sustainable energy on the Continent by 2040. This objective ties in closely with the UN Secretary General’s Energy for All by 2030 initiative under which the NEPAD Agency and UNDP are collaborating.
PIDA provides a common framework for African stakeholders to build the infrastructure necessary for more integrated transport, energy, ICT and trans-boundary water networks to boost trade, spark growth and create jobs. Implementing it will help to deliver a well-connected Africa, facilitate energy flows between African countries and realise the building of an African Economic Community, outlined in the 1991 Abuja Treaty.
“In the energy sector, for instance, more than 20 countries have national power systems below the minimum efficient scale of a single plant. The creation of power pools recognises that regional cooperation, by sharing large-scale, cost-effective energy resources across countries, will reduce the cost of electricity, “Prof Elmissiry said.
PIDA will therefore develop efficient, reliable, cost-effective and environmentally friendly infrastructure for the physical integration of the continent and enhance access to modern energy services for the majority of the African population. PIDA will achieve this through the development of hydro power energy resources, the implementation of high-capacity oil refineries and oil and gas pipeline projects. Most of the power utilities will be inter-connected through transmission corridors, which will cut across Africa from North to South and from East to West.
According to the UNDP more than a billion people will benefit from these commitments. “Achieving universal access to modern energy by 2030 is possible and can lift more than a billion people out of extreme energy poverty. This will require massive investment until 2030. “Developing countries in particular will gain improved access to electricity, mechanical power, and clean cooking solutions through scaled-up renewable energy sources, increased investment, and improved energy policies, said Aboubacar Oualy, Regional Coordinator of the UNDP Regional Energy Project
In Kenya, for instance, plans are advanced to develop a 8,000 km long North-South power transmission Corridor from Egypt through Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia via Kenya to Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa. PIDA will also build a 300 km Petroleum Pipeline running through Kenya and Uganda to lower the transport costs of petroleum between the two countries as part of 15 high priority energy projects to be implemented by 2020 across the Continent, Prof Elmissiry said.
“Close attention will need to be paid to the development of human, institutional and policy capacities if sustainable energy is to be achieved for ALL in African countries. Such an effort requires both technical and soft skills in order to build the infrastructure necessary for improved energy flows to drive productive economies for inclusive growth”, Ms Florence Nazare, Head of NEPAD Capacity Development Programme.
Ms Nazare highlighted that the Africa Platform for Development Effectiveness (APDev), through which this meeting was facilitated, is a critical mechanism for bringing together key players in the energy sector in harnessing capacities for mutual learning and knowledge sharing towards effective energy results. The APDev will also help provide a platform for advancing stakeholder mobilisation, efforts and capacity development requirements geared at realising the effective implementation of this timely continent-wide initiative.
The meeting aims to develop guidelines for an Africa Plan of Action to ensure that all people on the Continent eventually have access to modern affordable energy services.