African Energy Ministerial
Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa, September 15-16, 2011
On The Road To Durban: Promoting Sustainable Energy Access In Africa
An African Ministerial Conference on Sustainable Energy Access to
facilitate dialogue and reach consensus on Africa's energy vision for the future.
In Africa, power is inaccessible, unaffordable and unreliable for over half of the population. This traps people in poverty, slows down businesses and reduces productivity. A few success stories do exist – countries such as South Africa, Morocco and Egypt have improved access for their citizens substantially in the last decades – but 585 million people across Sub-Saharan Africa are still left without basic energy services. This is an equity issue and expanding access to energy is a social imperative for Africa. The entire electricity generation capacity of the continent stands at 124GW, of which 30GW is the total for all Sub-Saharan countries together excluding South Africa – about the same as that in Norway. Demand for energy is expected to increase dramatically as result of sustained economic growth, urbanization and population growth. The overall installed generation capacity should at least double to bring Africa in line with the rest of the developing world and support sustained economic and social growth. But for growth to be sustainable, African countries need to build energy systems that are resilient to climate variations. Global warming is deepening Africa’s vulnerability, making it the most exposed region in the world to the impacts of climate change. Setting the continent on a sustainable energy production and consumption path is critical to Africa's development vision while contributing to the global challenge of mitigating GHG emissions.
There is no dearth of energy resources in Africa. The continent is richly endowed with both renewable and exhaustible energy resources and has one of the world's largest potential for low-carbon development. With the right mix of domestic policies, innovative technologies and international financial assistance, Africa could become a world leader in reconciling economic growth, clean energy development and climate change mitigation efforts. But moving from the current situation to a thriving energy future takes concerted action and a large-scale, sustained mobilization of knowledge, political will and resources.
On The Road To Durban
The upcoming Conference of Parties (COP 17) of UNFCCC to be held in Durban offers a unique opportunity to highlight Africa's energy challenges and gain global support to a transformational agenda that will help secure Africa's energy future in a sustainable manner. The two-day Africa Energy Ministers Conference "On the Road to Durban: Promoting Sustainable Energy Access in Africa" will facilitate dialogue and reach consensus on the priorities for supporting Africa's energy development agenda in a resilient manner. Africa’s leaders will have an opportunity to share experiences and discuss low carbon strategies to scale up energy access in the continent; investments and concerted actions required to foster regional trade; and climate finance options for Africa's energy investment priorities.