Africa-EU Meeting Puts High Priority On Energy

More than 300 policymakers from over 60 African and European delegations met at the first High Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) in Vienna on September 14, 2010 to determine the partnership’s future. Gudrun Kopp, Parliamentary State Secretary for the German Development Ministry of (BMZ), represented Germany at the conference and partnered with EU Commissioners Günther Oettinger and Andris Piebalgs, as well as AU Commissioner Dr. Elham M.A. Ibrahim, in the debate on future goals.

Dr. Spindelegger, Dr. Ibrahim, Mr. Oettinger and Dep. Min. Jaitheh, Gambia (left to right) (© German Society for Technical Cooperation (GTZ)/ photo: Peter Himsel)

Kopp stressed that Energy is pivotal for development. This is why Germany has supported the partnership from the start and is one of its driving forces. Within the framework of the partnership, cross-border electricity interconnections are made possible, providing a safe and sustainable energy supply to the people. Germany strongly supports the contribution of know-how for development to Africa.

The declaration adopted by the ministers sets clear goals: The partnership will provide a modern and sustainable energy supply to at least an additional 100 million Africans by 2020.

Three quarters of the population in sub-Saharan Africa still live without electricity and in many African countries less than 10 percent of the rural population have access to power supply. Further goals are linked to energy security and trade, as well as renewable energies, including the provision of 10,000 megawatt of hydroelectric power and 5,000 megawatt of electricity from wind energy sources in Africa.

The EU Commissioner for Development, Andris Piebalgs, added another building block to the increasing energy cooperation between the two continents: the new Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP). The programme promotes science and technology transfers in the field of renewable energy, which rings in a new era for industrial and economic sectors and economic cooperation between Africa and Europe.

Max Schoen, Chairman of the Desertec Foundation and Club of Rome German chapter, speaks at AEEP meeting (© German Society for Technical Cooperation (GTZ) / Photo: Peter Himsel)

Germany cooperates with 15 African countries through bilateral, regional and Africa-wide energy-related programmes. German development cooperation invests more than 800 million Euro in ongoing projects, which aim to bring electricity to more people. Renewable energies and the electrical interconnectedness of individual African countries are priority areas.

The outcomes of this conference will be included in the action plan of the EU-Africa summit in Libya, which will take place at the end of November 2010. In order to implement the partnership’s goals, cooperation between public and private actors should be strengthened.