Ethiopian Energy^Power Business Portal

(International Energy Agency/Newsroom, 25 May 2018)

180525 AbouZeid BigIdeas
Dr Abou Zeid and Dr Birol signing the MoU between the African Union and the IEA in Paris, with H. E. Mr Ali Suleyman Mohammed, Ethiopian Ambassador to France (background, left), and H.E. Noé van Hulst, Ambassador of The Netherlands at the OECD and Chairman of the IEA Governing Board (Photograph: Michael Dean/IEA).
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Building out mini grid systems could help to electrify rural populations in the developing world, but these projects can be a hard sell to investors. According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, progress on this type of energy generation has been obstructed by insufficient in-country technical capacity to install, operate and maintain the systems, weak regulatory frameworks to attract project developers, and inadequate access to financing to bring these projects to scale. Mini grids are small-scale energy generation units that supply electricity to a localized distribution grid. These projects can be independent or connected to the central grid, if it is available. Mini grids can be an important alternative to the grid or enhance central grid extensions, said UNIDO.

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Africa relies on traditional biomass and waste fuels for almost half of its primary energy supply. An estimated 600 million people still lack access to electricity, and household air pollution resulting from the combustion of wood, dung, and charcoal leads to the death of an estimated 600,000 Africans each year. The continent therefore urgently needs a massive rollout of modern energy services to improve the quality of life and the productivity of its underserved and rapidly growing population. Such a development would also power industrialization and urbanization.

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Forum discusses accelerated reforms, greater private sector involvement, and creation of new pipeline of investment-ready projects. Public, private and civil society stakeholders, including government agencies, development partners and investors in the energy sector began a two-day workshop today to discuss the technical, commercial, regulatory and financial issues in Africa’s fast-growing Energy market. The inaugural edition of the Africa Energy Market Place (AEMP) brought together more than 300 participants and featured case studies from five countries - Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Zambia. Representatives from each country delivered presentations on the accomplishments, investment opportunities, challenges, and the long-term outlook for their respective energy industries.

In his welcome address, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, underscored the dire situation of Africa’s energy environment. “Africa has a lot of energy potential but potential doesn’t create anything … We cannot continue to accept Africa being referred to as the ‘dark continent’. We need to act speedily to accelerate our plans to light up and power Africa,” Adesina said.

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