BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, September 22, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — European Commission President José Manuel Barroso will tomorrow co-sign joint declarations in New York to reinforce energy cooperation with five African countries: Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Togo and Rwanda. These agreements will aim to increase access to sustainable energy sources, even in rural areas where the needs are the greatest.
In order to achieve this also on a global scale, the EU plans to allocate more than 3.3 billion euro worth of grants in the 2014-2020 financial period to support sustainable energy projects all over the world. Around 2 billion euro will be dedicated to African countries.
Ahead of the signing, President Barroso said: “Sustainable energy is essential for fuelling growth and development. Two years ago, at the EU Sustainable Energy for All Summit in Brussels, I therefore proposed the ambitious target of helping developing countries to provide access to sustainable energy services to 500 million people by 2030. I am delighted that we are now joining forces with European and African countries that have decided to take the lead in the fight against energy poverty.”
European Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs, added: “Without energy, factories cannot function, schools cannot be lighted up and families cannot cook, and this is a situation that many people are still facing today. But it is equally important that sustainable energy sources are promoted first and foremost. These declarations are a clear sign of the political commitment of all co-signatories that we want to work together and achieve faster progress in ensuring access to sustainable energy for all.”
A key goal of the agreements is to engage with the private sector to improve the conditions for investment and funding, and therefore increase access to sustainable energy or the production of sustainable, reliable and cost effective electricity. For this to be truly effective, the governments of our partner countries and the EU will work together on bringing forward sustainable energy projects.
President Barroso and Commissioner Piebalgs are currently in New York for the UN General Assembly, to attend, among other key international meetings, the Climate Change Summit. Tomorrow, President Barroso will also address the Assembly’s High Level Session on renewable energy and energy efficiency. Development topics of the General Assembly will include negotiations of the post-2015 development agenda, the preparations for a Conference on Financing for Development as well as the process under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change for reaching a global agreement on climate change in 2015.
Tomorrow’s agreements will also aim to strengthen the political ties between energy policy commitments of signatory countries and the financial support by the EU and other co-signing donors. The following European countries will equally co-sign the joint declarations:
• Cabo Verde: Austria, Luxembourg, Spain and Portugal
• Ivory Coast: France
• Liberia: Norway
EU energy funding in development and cooperation
For the period 2014-2020 about 30 developing countries have chosen energy as a focal sector for their cooperation with the EU. In addition, other countries will also receive substantial allocations in the field of energy where this has not been defined as a focal sector. In total, around €3.3 billion will be dedicated to supporting sustainable energy in the EU’s partner countries around the globe, through bilateral and regional cooperation. This is expected to leverage between €15 and €30 billion in loans and equity investment to fill gaps in energy infrastructure and power businesses, schools, homes and hospitals.
Some examples of ongoing EU work on energy
EU blending facilities: The EU supports the Lake Turkana Wind Power project with €25 million under the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund. This will result in the construction of a 310 MW wind farm in Kenya and unlock a total investment cost of €625 million. The project will reduce the country’s import dependency and season-sensitive hydropower production, increase energy security and improve economic activities in remote areas.
Rural Electrification: An EU funded €2 million project in Liberia, implemented by Save the Children, installs solar panels in all public health facilities that have no electricity to provide light and power radios. The project will reach around 1.5 million beneficiaries, mainly women and children in rural areas in a country of 3.5 million people.
Building alliances: The EU and New Zealand have created a partnership that supports concrete projects in the Pacific. For instance, with a new hydropower plant with a capacity of less than 1 MW has a positive impact on the lives of 188 000 people in Samoa.