Hosted by HE Jeff Radebe, Minister of Energy of South Africa, Dr Sun Xiansheng, Secretary General of the International Energy Forum (IEF), and Mr Belkacem Ouzrourou, Director Africa Region of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) opened the 4th IEF-OFID Symposium on Energy Poverty that took place on 2-3 May 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. Dr Dapo Odulaja, Head of the Data Services Department of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) also welcomed delegates on behalf of HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary General, OPEC.
HE Jeff Radebe underlined the importance that South Africa attaches to international engagement and dialogue on the platform that the IEF provides to attract investment, improve energy systems, and ensure affordable access to modern energy services for all. Dr Sun Xiansheng, and Mr Belkacem Ouzrourou highlighted the links that exist between the alleviation of energy poverty and economic development. They recognised the need for enhanced dialogue on the many opportunities available and new energy policy and technologies offer for investment and expanding capacity. Invited to give a keynote address, HE Mahaman Laouan Gaya, Secretary General of the African Producers’ Organisation (APPO) addressed the central role that affordable and modern energy services play in the fulfilment of all Sustainable Development Goals of the UN2030 Agenda, and how hurdles may be overcome to close the gap.
Set in a context in which a minority of Sub-Sharan Africa has access to electricity, and under 15% have access to clean cooking fuels according to the latest UN figures. The 4th IEF-OFID Symposium Symposium was structured in five key sessions:
Session moderators and panellists included senior representatives of intergovernmental organisations, as well as government, and private sector companies including Rashid Ali Abdallah, Executive Director of the African Energy Commission (AFREC) and senior experts of the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS), the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and JODI Partner organisations.
Discussions focussed on the solutions that alternative energy delivery systems such as Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) and smart grid electrification can offer for clean cooking and rural areas respectively when compared to the cost of national network extensions. The delivery of clean cooking and electricity services is linked to a nexus of development in health, education, gender equality, and opportunities for social-economic growth and stability. Increased public-private energy sector cooperation should extend across borders to enable more diverse and secure energy supply. Outreach on energy policy and regulation will facilitate both national and regional infrastructure investment. Symposium participants acknowledged that while advances are being made there is a need to improve regional cooperation towards the provision of universal energy access to modern energy services and the complete alleviation of energy poverty.
The full agenda and the concluding statement are available to download alongside speeches and presentations as listed below.
Moderated by: Ivan Yaholnitisky, Director, Bethel Business and Community Development Center in Lesotho