Kofi Annan: New Deal on Energy for Africa

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am sorry I cannot join you at the New Deal on Energy for Africa consultations hosted by President Adesina at the African Development Bank headquarters.

The Africa Development Bank’s new vision to solve Africa’s energy challenge is of critical importance as we are faced with the disturbing reality that today over 620 million Africans do not have access to modern energy.

The region’s energy deficit holds back the economic growth needed to create jobs and lift people out of poverty.

Africa’s leaders have no choice but to bridge the energy gap, urgently.

Nevertheless, they do have a choice about how to bridge the gap. They have an amazing opportunity, to show the rest of the world the way to a sustainable future.

Africa can leapfrog over the damaging energy practices that have brought the world to the brink of catastrophe.

The challenges are immense. But Africa is already showing that there is a new way forward.

That is why I believe the time is right for Africa to show global leadership and become a pioneering low-carbon superpower.

I am therefore delighted that the African Development Bank is now massively scaling up its efforts to solve one of our most important challenges – energy.

If Africa succeeds in unlocking its energy potential the world will benefit.

The proposed Transformative Partnership on Energy for Africa spearheaded by the Bank, has the potential to light up the region, and transform our societies.

I welcome the proposal to create an Energy Financing Facility for Africa to be based at the African Development Bank.

The Africa Progress Panel, which I chair, is calling for a ten-fold increase in power generation to provide all Africans with access to electricity by 2030.

That is a core message of our new report Power, People, Planet: Seizing Africa’s Energy and Climate Opportunities.

The energy sector in Africa is characterised by what we identify as a market failure of astonishing proportions.  This must be fixed by smart government policies and regulations.

In addition to the energy deficits that are holding back growth, there is a vast unmet demand for basic energy.

Yet disconnected Africans are paying some of the world’s highest unit costs for energy.  That is why the market failure is also a market opportunity.

We know that emerging business models harnessed to new technologies could bring clean energy to millions, if governments and investors create the right conditions.

We must urgently find ways of lowering risk in the investment environment.

Governments, working with investors, can provide appropriate credit and risk guarantees. And investors should be encouraged to look at off-grid Africa and renewable energy not as a risk zones, but as an opportunities.

The African Development Bank’s new financing facility could play a vital role in mobilising the right type of finance.

We urge Africa’s leaders to start an energy revolution that connects the unconnected, and meets the demands of consumers, businesses and investors for affordable and reliable electricity.

Furthermore, Africa’s leaders must act with urgency to put in place the policies needed to cut corruption in the energy sector and build climate-resilient societies.

With decisive action at home and support from the international community, Africa is well positioned to expand the power generation needed to drive growth, deliver energy for all and play a leadership role in the crucial climate change negotiations.

Many African countries are emerging as frontrunners in the global transition to low carbon energy.

With the support of the African Development Bank, Africa’s premier development finance institution, in meeting the region’s climate and energy challenges the future can be bright, very bright indeed.

It is the future we want to see.

And it is the future we owe to our children and grandchildren.

I wish you all the best for your meetings.