African Development Bank
AfDB at World Energy Congress - Energy is Key to Africa's Development
22 July 2010
Location: Montrï¿½al, Canada
The African Development Bank (AfDB) will explain the challenges facing
the African energy sector to a wide audience at the World Energy
Congress (WEC), scheduled to take place in Montrï¿½al, Canada, 12-16
"Increasing energy access is a priority for Africa", says Hela
Cheikhrouhou, the AfDB's Director for Energy, Climate Change and
Sustainable Development. She said large segments of the continent's
people, especially in Sub-Sahara Africa and in the rural areas of
middle-income countries, live in conditions of acute 'energy poverty'.
Africa's energy production is about 9.5% of the world's total output,
including 12.1% of the world's crude oil production; 6.6% of natural
gas output; 4.7% of the world's hard coal; and 3.1% of hydro-electric
The continent's one billion inhabitants consume the least amount of
energy per capita. Endemic low per-capita energy consumption is both a
cause and consequence of Africa's prolonged poor socio-economic
performance since the first oil shock in the early 1970s, particularly
in oil-importing Sub-Sahara African countries.
"Long-term planning, taking into account economic, social and
environmental costs would increasingly shift the balance in favor of a
low-carbon path to development and poverty reduction, Ms. Cheikhrouhou
explained. "As one of the region most vulnerable to global warming,
Africa has a vested interest in rendering effective support for global
mitigation efforts," she stressed.
African countries are in effect facing the threats posed by climate
change. They have witnessed extreme weather conditions - historic hot
spells, droughts, torrential rains, cyclones, floods, extreme
fluctuations of river flow and lake water levels. Climate change has
emerged as an important challenge facing Africa in the 21st century.
The continent has however a number of options for clean energy
development with enormous potential. African countries, especially
south of the Sahara, need to make greater use of their huge largely
untapped renewable energy potential - especially hydro-power,
geothermal energy, solar and wind power, and more efficient
utilization of biomass.
"African countries' energy development strategy geared to the goal of
access-for-all should be anchored on three pillars: maximizing clean
energy options; emphasizing energy efficiency; and working with
developed countries and development institutions to quickly and
effectively channel a more substantial share of Climate Financing",
says Ms Cheikhrouhou.
The World Energy Council organizes a world congress every three years.
The upcoming congress, the premier international multi-energy forum
with exhibitors with field experience, is an opportunity for
participants to better understand energy issues and solutions from a
global perspective. It brings together more than 3,500 top world
leaders in the energy sector, coming from industry, governments, and
international organizations, as well as the media, universities and
energy industry associations.
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