Africa and Europe fight fuel poverty together through Austrian involvement in the energy sector
ADDIS ABABA – Africa needs trade, production, electricity and fuel to develop modern industrialised societies, create jobs, foster prosperity and health and to protect environmental quality.
Lack of access to a profitable power supply from renewable energies has been determined as a prime obstacle to development of health care, agricultural and artisan production as also to the development of democratic opinion-forming through television, radio or the Internet.
Rural regions are at a particular disadvantage. Only some ten percent of the population have access to electricity and the per-capita consumption in Africa is the lowest in the world. All of this highlights the need for new approaches to investing in the development of rural energy infrastructure that are to benefit poor demographic groups on the African continent in particular.
High-level meeting in Addis Ababa
A major conference under Austrian co-chairmanship is being held in Addis Ababa this week in the framework of the African-EU Energy Partnership to discuss sustainable energy solutions. Participants include representatives from civil society, companies and scientific institutions. Enormous funds are required to lead Africa out of energy poverty and a special call has been made to banks and international finance institutes to help deal with this issue. The first high-level meeting on this topic was held in Vienna in 2010.
Projects of the Austrian Development Cooperation complement Austria’s political support of the energy sector. The main activities revolve around establishing regional centres for renewable energy and energy efficiency in Western, Southern and Eastern Africa to ensure access to an affordable and reliable energy provision for more than 300 million people. The objective of these centres is the removal of barriers for the use of alternative energy resources.
Austrian Development Cooperation and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) have together initiated a global network of such centres for renewable energy. It is planned to establish further centres in the Caribbean and the Pacific. These establishments play an important role in the implementation of the “Sustainable Energy for All” (SE4ALL) initiative of the United Nations and contribute to strengthening Vienna’s position as a multilateral energy hub.
Austrian Development Cooperation (ADC) supports sustainable development in the countries of Africa, Asia, Southeast and Eastern Europe and the Caribbean.