Energy poverty is one of the biggest challenges for sustainable development in Africa. While the continent?s energy needs are growing substantially, the available resources are more than sufficient to meet the continent?s demand.
Moreover, Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change. With its vast and untapped natural resources, Africa is an ideal place to develop innovative technologies and renewable energy solutions.
The European Union on the other hand is well-equipped to support capacity development, provide renewable and energy-efficient technologies, and help in enhancing regulatory and investment frameworks.
At the Second High Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership, taking place on 12-13 February in Addis Ababa, African and European political and business leaders meet to review successes in the African energy sector and further deepen energy collaboration of the two continents.
The Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) is an established framework for energy cooperation between the two continents, offering a platform for dialogue and coordination of joint activities.
In 2010, at the First High Level Meeting of the Energy Partnership, African and EU ministers set ambitious targets in the areas of energy access, energy security, renewable energy and energy efficiency to be reached by the year 2020.
Ever since, progress on achieving these targets has been tracked and collected in the First Status Report of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership: for instance the capacity of solar energy has seen rapid growth since 2010, and is projected to exceed original target ? additional 500 MW by the year 2020 ?by far.
At the current electrification rate, the target set by African and EU Energy ministers back in 2010 to provide 100 million Africans with access to modern and sustainable energy services may be met in 2020.
However, with the African population rapidly growing, the share of the population without access to electricity in 2020 is expected to grow substantially. Strong political commitment and deliberate engagement of stakeholders is key to encourage investment and action towards bridging the gap of energy poverty in Africa.
The Second High Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership will thus be directed towards shaping a forward-looking vision for energy cooperation between Africa and Europe and to delivering concrete results ? political commitment to realise sustainable energy solutions for our future generations.
?The African Union is committed to further strengthen energy cooperation with Europe. Technology transfer and investment are key for sustainable energy development in Africa.? said Aboubakari Baba Moussa,, Director, Infrastructure and Energy Department, African Union
?The Africa-EU Energy Partnership is a bold initiative founded on a simple fact: namely that energy is fundamental to development. No energy means no sustained or sustainable economic growth, no sustainable agriculture, no quality healthcare; no decent education. In short, no energy means no development.?