AFREC Executive Directors (Mr Rashid Ali Abdallah) Address at the Stakeholder Workshop on Clean Energy Transitions in Sahel Countries (Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso & Chad): African Union perspectives on clean energy transitions
Mr. Dave Turk, Deputy Executive Director, IEA
Representatives from all Our Member states in the Sahel region and the Continent,
All protocol Observed,
First of all, I would like to thank the IEA for organizing this important workshop as part of its effort to advance clean energy transitions in Sahel countries and giving AFREC a chance to present the African perspective for energy transition.
Our focus in AFREC as a continental institutions is to ensure all energy projects channeled by Member states and development partners address the plight of an ordinary African. To provide access to electricity and clean energy, as well as ensuring energy development and exploitation is sustainable and beneficial to the continent.
As you aware, most African Countries including those in the Sahel still rely heavily on traditional and non-efficient biomass to meet domestic needs such as cooking and lighting. Continued reliance on fossil fuels however poses significant vulnerabilities for these countries and the continent as a whole, particularly in light of rapid decarbonisation of electricity sector globally and in the longer term all sectors of society.
AFREC through its newly developed programme for energy transition (AFRETRAP), is looking at transitioning not only a specific region but the entire continent through engagement and support by our member states. The transition of energy sector to clean sustainable energy will be driven by accurate collected energy data, which indicates the real energy situation of each country. The programme of African energy sector transition of AFREC has approve by the African minsters of energy in their meeting held in Cairo in April 2019.
AFREC views on energy transition in Africa are that we need to address the African challenges in cognisant of that fact that these challenges are not necessary same for all African regions or countries. However, in general, energy transition should aim to address challenges such as:
1. Persistent reliance on low-quality traditional energy sources (Bioenergy in Africa represent 50% of energy consumption in Africa and mainly use for cooking)
2. Obstacles to expansion of modern energy production and distribution
3. Inequalities between and within countries and African regions
4. Insufficient regional integration
5. Capacity constraints ( human capacity and institutions capacity)
6. Rapid population growth and demographic shifts
African Union Commission and AFREC have initiated and are also involved in several landmark African and international agreements that address many energy challenges which Africa faces. Agenda 2063, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the SDGs, the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) as well as the African Energy Transition Programme of AFREC which set a key principles to overcome the challenges of African energy sector and guide Africa’s energy transition.
AFREC’s programme on energy transition has also identified certain objectives which we believe are suitable to guide energy transition in Africa inconsideration of the African situation. These objectives for energy transition in Sahel region are:
1. Promote energy infrastructure for economic and social development;
2. Alignment with the Paris Agreement on climate change and a strong manufacturing sector for local production of renewable energy technologies;
3. Long-term strategic planning towards smart, people-centred, interconnected and distributed renewable energy systems
4. Integrated electricity market as possible
5. Climate change and decarbonisation of the energy sector
6. Strengthening energy systems innovation and leveraging the potential of social innovation
Amongst some initiatives, AFREC has just completed updating of African Energy Information System as one of the owned continental energy data system which provide reliable energy data and insights on what energy is available, and what measures need to be developed to address the challenges faced by countries and the people in relation to accessibility to electricity, clean cooking and developing energy saving mechanism. This is one of the key system to which provide answers, to enhance Africa’s position to solve and transform the energy sector.
Additionally, AFREC is working with UNEP to collect existing data to develop Savings Assessments for Member Countries , to calculate electricity, climate and financial benefits, and thereafter Develop recommendations for supporting policies on strategic policy frameworks (planning and design) for MEPS, Labeling programs for energy-efficient lighting and appliances to ensure harmonisation for each region.
Hence, to achieve the continent’s energy transition aims, a rapidly increased penetration of renewable energy for all African countries is crucial. These transition plans need to ensure infrastructure investments and storage solutions. The recent launch of the Africa Single electricity market and the Continental Free trade area are one of the initiatives which will enhance region electricity integration, trade and development in these area.
AFREC is therefore happy to join hands and work together with IEA, partners and other development institutions involved in Africa’s energy development, whose aims are aligned with a common sustainable energy development goal, to assist governments, and at the heart of serving the population on the continent.
AFREC also would like to express interest to continue working with Sahel countries to implement the outcome recommendations of this study. Thank you again for IEA and representatives of the Sahel region for organizing this workshop and I wish you successful deliberations.