Experts highlight Africa’s energy needs KATARE MBASHIRU

The experts met in Dar es Salaam for a two-day regional meeting on sustainable energy for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and suggested that access to finance was vital for Africa’s poorest countries to develop sustainable energy initiative and build renewable power capacity.
Speaking at the official launching of the meeting, Minister for Energy and Minerals, Professor Sospeter Muhongo expressed the government’s commitment to stamp out energy problem in the country, saying in the next five years the government would have made a considerable improvement on sustainable energy.
To achieve this, already the government allocated US Dollars 500 million (over 1bn/-) for rural electrification projects in the 2016/2017 financial year. He called upon participants at the meeting to spend more time to deliberate on energy demand.
“Sustainable Development Goal number 7 (SDG7) provides for access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all by 2030, and my government has already embarked on implementation of various projects to attain this,’’ said Prof Muhongo.
According to Under-Secretary- General, UN Office of the High Representative for LDCs, Landlocked Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), Mr Gyan Chandra Acharya said two thirds of those living in Africa’s LDCs do not have access to electricity, yet the majority of those countries are endowed with vast reserves of renewable energy.
“These opportunities together with those technologies, offer many solutions for gaining energy access, therefore I hope this event will inspire new ideas on accelerating reliable access to energy and mobilizing finance bringing swift benefits to Africa’s poorest communities,’’ he said at the meeting.
The meeting was co-organised by (UN-OHRLLS), and the Government of Tanzania, with support from UNDP Tanzania. By the end of business today, it will consider many constraints to accessing finance for expanding modern energy.
According to UN Resident Coordinator Alvaro Rodriguez, sustainable energy is central to economic growth, social progress and environmental sustainability, as recognised in the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes a standalone goal on energy (SDG7).
Mr Rodriguez who doubles as UNDP representative added: “Over the past two decades, UNDP has mobilized around US Dollars 2 billion in grant financing and for sustainable energy projects in more than 110 countries and territories worldwide.