Energy - a Key Focus on Africa
Africa is the continent where energy poverty hits the hardest. In the Sub-Saharan region, 30% of the population have access to electricity and 17% to modern cooking fuels, hence access to clean and safe energy for their basic needs such as cooking, lighting, communication, health and lighting. The EU is therefore giving special attention to energy issues in the context of its partnership with Africa.
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The Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) is one of the eight partnerships of the Africa-EU Joint Strategy adopted by African and European Heads of State and Government in Lisbon in December 2007. Under this partnership of equals, the two continents share their knowhow and resources, tune their complementary interests and closely link their policies to meet the energy challenge hand in hand.
The overall objective of the AEEP is improved access to reliable, secure, affordable, cost-effective, climate friendly and sustainable energy services for both continents, with a special focus on achieving the MDGs in Africa, through concrete, targets to be attained by 2020:
- providing access to modern and sustainable energy services to at least an additional 100 million Africans;
- doubling the capacity of cross-border electricity interconnections;
- doubling the use of natural gas in Africa;
- doubling African gas exports to Europe;
- increasing energy efficiency in Africa in all sectors;
- generating at least an additional 10 000 MW of hydropower, 5 000 MW of wind power and 500 MW of solar energy;
- tripling the capacity of other renewables.
The EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility (EUEI-PDF) supports this strategic dialogue as a secretariat.
Several ambitious initiatives have already been taken to make the achievement of these objectives a reality.
Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme
Launched in September 2010, the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) aims to support the expansion of renewable energies in Africa. To build knowledge and capacities across the continent, it mobilises the technology expertise and innovation capacity of Europe.
The open-ended framework kicked off with a start-up phase of three years (2011-13) focussing on a number of priority areas, including:
- support for renewable energy policies and market development;
- capacity development for project preparation and mobilisation of financing.
The Commission is funding the start-up phase through the Environment Thematic Programme of the Development Cooperation Instrument.
A strategy covering the period up to 2020 is currently being prepared by the partners.
ACP-EU Energy Facility
Established in 2005, the ACP-EU Energy Facility is the main instrument targeting energy access in African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. It supports projects increasing access to sustainable and affordable energy services for the poor living in rural and peri-urban areas.
Overall commitments of €420 million were made available for the period 2006-13. Over 15 million people should benefit from improved access to energy thanks to this support.
The projects funded by the facility proved instrumental in increasing energy access in poor rural areas. They contributed to achieving tangible improvements in beneficiary populations' living conditions and socio-economic conditions.
EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund
Created in 2007, the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (ITF) is an instrument promoting African development by facilitating interconnectivity and regional integration on the African continent. To achieve this, it supports infrastructure projects with a regional or transnational dimension in Sub-Saharan Africa, namely in the field of energy infrastructure.
The ITF blends grants from the Commission and the EU Member States, with long-term loan finance made available by eligible financiers.
A total of 40 grant operations had been approved by mid-2011, amounting to grant contributions of €214 million. The overall cost of the financed projects was over €2.5 billion.
Implemented projects have already triggered positive results on the ground, ITF reports show. The energy sector attracted the most grant operations approved in 2010 (six operations for €31.1 million).