Sierra Leone’s Minister of Energy and Power, Ambassador Henry O. Macauley , today called on the United Nations to turn TALK on financing Sustainable Energy For All into Kolowatt-hour. Emphasing that electricity changes lives and noting that “We have a deeper need for this to happen in Africa, and quickly”, Ambassador Macauley stressed the need for speed .
The Minister was addressing the Second Annual United Nations Global Energy Ministerial Dialogue on ” Financing Sustainable Energy For All ” presently going on at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
WE BRING YOU THE FULL STATEMENT BY THE MINISTER :
Statement by H.E. Mr. Henry O. Macauley
Minister of Energy of the Republic of Sierra Leone
at the Second Annual United Nations Sustainable
Energy for All Forum
The Global Energy Ministerial Dialogue on
“Financing Sustainable Energy for All”
New York, 21st May 2015
Let me at the outset use this opportunity to bring you greetings from His Excellency Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.
It gives me great pleasure to make remarks on “Leadership Action and Commitments to sustainable Energy for All” at this second Global Ministerial Dialogue on Sustainable Energy for All. This is a clear testimony that we continue to take seriously a low carbon development agenda for the future.
Therefore, allow me to join my esteemed colleagues in expressing our appreciation to all the organizers through the office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer for Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), for organizing this Global forum and for graciously hosting us.
The challenge for us as actors of the energy sector is to pursue economic development without creating additional burdens on natural resources, thereby preserving ecosystems that are critical to maintaining quality of life, and providing friendly environmental services to society.
Africa has experienced strong economic growth in the past decade and is one of the world’s fastest growing regions. It is therefore imperative that urgent attention be given to the consequence of this growth. We all agree that economic growth on its own is not enough. We must understand that access to electricity is particularly crucial to human development. This is intricately linked to the quality of growth that the continent needs.
At the ECOWAS Member States level, we have recognized that our focus should be to improve the quality of Africa’s growth, namely: inclusive growth, and the gradual transition to green growth.
We are cognizant of the fact that long-term sustainable economic growth which simultaneously meets development objectives should be based on comprehensive and robust development models that promote efficient use of natural assets, reduce waste and pollution, and strengthen the resilience of livelihoods.
In this context, the ministerial dialogue with overall focus on “Financing Sustainable Energy for All” is one which has its rightful place within our development agenda. We recognize that it will be impossible to eliminate carbon emissions as African economies grow, but we can help ensure that carbon emissions are minimized to the greatest extent possible.
Distinguished colleagues and delegates,
In July of 2013, the ECOWAS Heads of states and Government renewed their commitment to the provision of access to sustainable energy services in West Africa by adopting two path-breaking policies, the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Policy (EREP), which aims to increase the share of renewable energy in the region’s overall electricity mix to 35% in 2020 and 48% in 2030; and the ECOWAS Energy Efficiency Policy (EEEP), which aims to implement measures that free 2000 MW of power generation capacity and in the long term, more than double the annual improvement in energy efficiency, so as to attain levels comparable to those of world leaders of the sector.
Within this context, in March 2015, Sierra Leone, through the Ministry of Energy in collaboration with ECOWAS/ECREEE has already developed a frame work for the deployment and monitoring of the National Renewable Energy Action Plans, National Energy Efficiency Action Plans, and the SE4ALL Action Agenda to ensure attainment of the regional targets by 2020 and 2030 in the ECOWAS member States.
Furthermore, the Government of Sierra Leone has generated significant interest within the ECOWAS region in intensifying efforts to harness our renewable energy and energy efficiency potentials.
Sierra Leone has identified Energy as the fundamental tool for the promotion of economic growth, technological advancement and social welfare and is making a focused effort in this direction.
A few of the achievements of Sierra Leone so far include:
- The development of the National Energy Strategy plan (2014-2018)
- programmes that support the development of Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects
- Enhancing private sector involvement in energy infrastructure development and service delivery
- Increase and diversify sources of energy supply in order to ensure security of supply
- Signing of a Joint Declaration with the EU to accelerate our national energy objectives, substantially increase sustainable energy access and achieve reliable and affordable energy delivery to the population.
Our commitments to Sustainable Energy for All and clean technologies should be motivated by both the potential contribution to social and economic development, as well as the need for a development path that helps mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change.
On this note, it is quite encouraging to see how several African countries have embraced the low-carbon development agenda in the provision of appropriate energy infrastructure for their population, setting an example for others that this is the right path for the continent. However, much more work remains to be done in balancing the goal of avoiding high carbon emitting infrastructure choices today, with the goal of enhancing long-term access to clean modern energy services for the future.
Africa’s renewable energy potential is very high with enormous opportunities that can be realized. A large percentage of the continents natural and renewable energy resources remain untapped. In the same vein, there are still several impediments that need to be overcome, among which include inadequate financial resources and limited institutional capacity.
Access to adequate and predictable financing is at the heart of the needed response, with increased resource flows required to promote resilient and cleaner technologies. In particular, we must strengthen the public – private partnership in advancing sustainable energy for all. Furthermore, adequate policy frameworks and governance arrangements must be put in place. Capacity building and knowledge sharing are also essential in this regard.
The ongoing Financing for Development discourse should therefore fully complement goal 7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Government of Sierra Leone is committed to working with the SE4ALL partnership toward the three global goals of universal access to energy, doubling the rate of energy efficiency and doubling the global share of renewable energy. Sierra Leone has undertaken the initial rapid assessment and the Government is now ready to embark upon the next steps, notably the development of the Sierra Leone SE4ALL Action Agenda and subsequent Investment Prospectus based on the Action Agenda template prepared by the SE4ALL Africa Hub and validated by the ECOWAS countries in Abidjan on 18 March 2014.
We welcome in this regard, that Sierra Leone has been identified as one of the fourteen (14) African countries in which SE4All and its partners would deepen engagement on activities to support these three goals. For this reason, we have requested the assistance of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in its capacity as host of the SE4ALL Africa Hub, to support Sierra Leone with the development of the SE4ALL Action Agenda and Investment Prospectus.
Such assistance to the Government of Sierra Leone would rightly complement the successful implementation of the country’s development framework encapsulated in the Agenda for Prosperity (A4P), as well as the ongoing support provided by the United Nations which has helped Sierra Leone prepare its expression of interest to become part of the Scaling Up Renewable Energy Program (SREP) in Low Income Countries.
Over 1.3 billion people worldwide suffer from lack of electricity. Nearly 97% of people without access to electricity live in Africa. The population growth in Africa is overtaking electricity access growth.
In this regard, Africa can learn much from the accomplishments of others, and in the same vein the continent also has much to offer. Sharing our individual and collective experiences on a regular basis is important for success, hence the United Nations strong continued support in organising these forums cannot be over emphasised.
Equally important is the need for us to also draw lessons from where failures have occurred, in order to avoid making similar mistakes made by others.
We are thankful to our development partners and the private sector that have been making meaningful interventions in the energy sector. We therefore call on all stakeholders to examine their 2013 commitments to the energy sector. An assessment of interventions in the energy sector by stakeholders for rural and deprived communities will also go a long way in addressing the issues of Financing of Sustainable Energy for All.
I look forward to bold and creative ideas that will enable us promote the Financing of Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL), geared toward building of resilient and low-carbon economies and also to address the energy deficits in our countries.
In conclusion, Mr. President, the cost of not having electricity in Sierra Leone is calculated at about $1/kwh when taking into account the social impact and other tragedies. It is time we end the darkness.
Electricity changes lives and we have a deeper need for this to happen in Africa, and quickly. We must engineer the solutions and the time is now. We must therefore design the fit for purpose models that work. The risking must be a bespoke tool that can adequately address investor anxiety. Governments must be encouraged through regional and clear programs to embark on reforms that promote predictability.
We have a need for speed and it is time we turned the TALK into KWH.
Thank you for your kind attention.