Ministers from African countries representing nearly three-quarters of the continent’s energy consumption and more than half of its population met with global energy leaders today to consider how to revitalise the African energy sector and enable a sustainable economic recovery after the pandemic.
Under the theme of Securing Africa’s Energy Future in the Wake of Covid-19, the Second AUC-IEA Ministerial Forum was chaired by Dr Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the IEA, Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, and Mr Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy of South Africa.
High-level officials at the virtual Ministerial meeting represented a diverse range of African economies, including Algeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal and many more. Energy leaders from major global economies such as the European Union, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States also took part, along with senior figures from international organisations, companies and civil society.
Recognising the severe impacts of the Covid-19 crisis on African economies and the importance of the energy sector for continued economic development across the continent, participants agreed on the urgent need to enhance actions to ensure sustainable economic recovery and significantly scale up energy investments over the next three years.
Discussions covered areas such as innovation and how to counter the negative effects of the pandemic on efforts to increase the number of people with access to electricity and clean cooking in Africa, with an emphasis on cooperation and collective action. Participants underscored that Africa is facing major challenges in obtaining the financing and new investments it requires to meet its immense structural transformation needs – an essential part of ensuring a resilient and dynamic energy sector that can power a successful economic recovery.
“I’m delighted that so many Ministers and other energy leaders from across Africa and around the world came together today to focus on how Africa can emerge from this crisis with stronger momentum behind the development of its energy sector – notably through clean energy technologies like solar power,” said Dr Birol. “I’d like to thank Commissioner Abou-Zeid and Minister Mantashe for the excellent collaboration that resulted in today’s valuable dialogue. I’m sure the insights from our discussions will help inform and enhance the work of the IEA and other organisations that took part.”