African Union pushes for acceleration of electrification in the continent
Africa needs to accelerate the financing for energy access in the continent with clear targets and steps for ensuring the achievement of universal energy access by 2030 — this appeal was made during a recent presidential roundtable on the side-lines of the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU).
The event which was organized by the AU Commission (AUC) and the World Bank in collaboration with the Union of the Comoros was attended by dignitaries from the Comoros, Madagascar, Namibia, Congo, and Malawi, and high-level representatives of the African Development Bank, the World Bank, international and regional institutions, and development partners. Amani Abou-Zeid, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, emphasized that energy is a bedrock for the success of every development sector and thus increased effort is required in ensuring affordable and reliable access. Azali Assoumani, President of the Union of the Comoros and the Chairperson of the AU for 2023, shed light on the irony of energy poverty on a continent that is richly endowed with vast energy resources that remain untapped.
The African Single Electricity Market (AfSEM) was noted by the speakers to be a key strategic element of facilitating energy access and enhancing energy security in Africa and, therefore, the AU member states, regional economic communities and their specialized institutions were urged to play their part in facilitating its operationalization. Africa needs US$25 billion in investment annually to meet its energy targets. The deliberations in the high-level panel underscored the role of partnerships in the area of finance, knowledge and technology transfer to help speed up existing and new initiatives to overcome constraints that African countries face in their quest for energy development.