Q&A: High Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership
EU Commissioner for Energy, Günther Oettinger and EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs, attended the High Level Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) in Vienna on 14-15 September. African energy ministers together with some EU Foreign Affairs, Environment, and Development ministers also participated
at this meeting.
The AEEP is one of eight thematic partnerships under the Joint Africa-EU Strategy. During this Event, Commissioner Piebalgs launched the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme and confirmed the intended start-up financing from the fast start climate action financing.
What is the aim of the first High Level Meeting?
The first meeting focuses on Africa-EU cooperation on energy access and energy security in Africa, and on the way forward for renewable energies. The Partnership will agree on common targets up to 2020 and on a road map for the Partnership’s next steps. The meeting will also create input for the Africa-EU Summit in November 2010. In addition, the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) will be launched and presented to all participants and the public.
What is the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP)?
The Programme aims at bringing relevant renewable energy technologies to the market in Africa; this is expected to trigger new industrial, trade and business cooperation between Africa and Europe. The Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme will mobilise the European resource base, experience and innovation capacity in order to build expertise and capacity in Africa. Thus, it will contribute to the exploration of Africa’s vast, untapped renewable energy potential and support the development of a new industrial sector in Africa. Both continents stand to benefit from this through increased employment opportunities, energy security and improved energy access.
What is the Africa-EU Joint Strategy?
80 Heads of State and Government from Africa and Europe adopted the Africa-EU Joint Strategy in Lisbon in December 2007. The Joint Strategy outlines a long term shared vision of the future of Africa-EU relations in a globalized world. It goes
beyond development cooperation by opening up the EU-Africa dialogue to issues of joint political concern and interest;
Africa by moving away from a focus on African matters only and openly addressing global and European issues;
beyond fragmentation in supporting Africa’s aspirations to find regional and continental responses to some of the most important challenges;
beyond institutions in ensuring a better participation of African and European citizens, as part of an overall strengthening of civil society in the two continents.
What is the Africa-EU Energy Partnership?
The Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) is a long-term framework for political dialogue and cooperation on energy issues of strategic importance. Africa and Europe are working together to develop a shared vision and common policy answers. Specific actions will aim at:
expanding access to energy
achieving greater energy security
promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The AEEP focuses on mobilising more resources (financial, technical and human) in support of Africa's energy development. It further promotes increased European and African investments in energy infrastructure and energy interconnections within Africa and between Africa and the EU.
What are the main challenges?
Energy will be a major challenge in the 21st century. In sub-Saharan Africa three-quarters of the population live without access to modern energy services. In many African countries less than 10% of the rural population has access to electricity.
How can we make sure that people everywhere can light their homes, power machinery, refrigerate and transport food and vaccines? Where will the energy come from to power economic development and a rising standard of living? Africa and the EU have committed to rise to this challenge and bring modern and sustainable energy services to at least 100 million additional Africans by 2020.
Why Africa and Europe?
Africa and Europe created the Energy Partnership because of their geographical proximity and their historical ties. They have embarked on a common journey to meet the energy challenge hand in hand since their respective energy futures are increasingly tied together. Numerous African and European countries depend on energy imports – and even those that export (petroleum, gas, biomass, electricity) rely on importing at least one element of their energy mix. Furthermore, a lack of energy infrastructure in Africa, coupled with a lack of access to electricity, transport fuels and cooking fuels is a major obstacle to the continent’s sustainable development.
Website of the First High Level Meeting
of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership