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Stakeholders come together to boost Renewable Energy in Africa

Representatives from various African countries today in Addis Ababa established the African Renewable Energy Alliance (AREA). In this Alliance, utilities, industry, policy-makers and the civil society will work together to boost the take-up of sustainable electrification and thermal power.
Abel Didier Tella, Secretary General of union of African utilities UPDEA, which represents 54 private and public electricity producers and distributors in 43 African countries: “True exchange of information on new technologies as well as workable funding mechanisms for Renewable Energy is exactly what is needed. By creating this Alliance we expect to create an on-going exchange and to speed up Renewable Energy production in Africa”.

The forming of the Alliance was the result of a workshop organized jointly by the World Future Council (WFC), the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation under the patronage of Dr. Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, Director General of the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority and WFC Councillor. Energy technology and policy solutions for off-grid regions as well sustainable cooking solutions and the need for a Rural Electrification Development Fund were discussed after briefings on the energy situation and energy policies in Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Africa.

For the inauguration of the Alliance the participants drafted a common declaration which states: “Now is the time to set the course towards a massive uptake of Renewable Energy for all people in urban and rural Africa. If we fail to immediately take decisions on Renewable Energy production and distribution in grid connected areas as well as in off grid regions, we undermine the right of millions of African citizens to develop a better life in the future. Renewable Energy means both, the production of electricity as well as thermal applications.” To frame common goals and objectives, the Alliance agreed on ten terms of reference for its future work ranging from fostering energy education and environmental information for all levels of society to finding ways of creating investment security.

The initial funding for the work of the Alliance will be provided by the World Future Council Foundation. The foundation, based in Germany, works to voice the interests of future generations and currently puts the majority of its funds into fighting climate change.

Among the participants of the workshop, conducted in the Dreamliner Hotel in Addis Ababa, were Prof. Abubakar S. Sambo, Director General of the Energy Commission of Nigeria, Thembani Bukula, Head of the Electricity Regulation of South Africa, Ephrem Hassen Gossoma, Head of Bio-fuel Development in the Ethiopian Ministry of Mines and Energy and Tony Colman, former UK Parliamentarian, WFC Councillor and Director of Africa Practice. The welcome address was given by Ambassador Biruk Debebe of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He stated. “On behalf of the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia I welcome the willingness of the World Future Council to help our African Union, and thus also our respective African countries, to develop the appropriate strategies that can attract the needed investment to harness these immense renewable energy resources.”

Additional information:
News date: 10/10/2009

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