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AEEP Energy Business Dialogue Forum

AEEP Energy Business Dialogue Forum

State 

completed

Date 

13 October, 2014 to 14 October, 2014

Country 

Italy

Summary

On the occasion of the Italian Presidency of the EU and in preparation for a Ministerial Segment on Energy cooperation within the Italy-Africa Initiative, the Africa EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) organised and co-hosted, together with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a technical workshop on "How to deal with risks in the African energy sector" on 13 October 2014 in Rome, Italy.  

The workshop saw the active participation of various Energy Ministers from Africa (Lesotho, Ghana, Nigeria, Somalia and Tanzania), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the European Commission (EC) - all main drivers of the AEEP. The European Commission Deputy Director General at DG DEVCO, Mr. Klaus Rudischhauser, graced the event by giving the welcome address and setting the stage, supported by the AUC, through the Directorate of Infrastructure and Energy, Mr. Atef Marzouk, who represented its Director, Mr. Aboubakari Baba-Moussa. Organisation of the meeting was under the responsibility of the EU Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility (EUEI PDF), which serves as the AEEP Secretariat to the Partnership, and supported by the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) who are the Partnership´s private sector focal point.

The meeting was attended by over 300 African and European political and business leaders, among other high-level experts who gathered to discuss the issues related to risks in the energy sector in Africa, and the possible solutions in attracting more private investments. During the meeting, it was recognised that the AEEP gives visibility to a range of stakeholders in the field - the private sector, academia and NGOs - bringing them together in such unique forums. Most apparent was the direct interaction between the Ministers present in the forum and the business leaders working in Africa as well as those intending to work in Africa.

During the forum, various speakers noted that the two continents face issues that have reached the top of the political agenda both at national and international level in the energy sector. Energy security is definitely a priority for not only Italy and Europe, but also for Africa. Establishing a strong cooperation between both continents as a means to anticipate future issues related to energy security remains a key for all stakeholders.

With regards to the African continent, in particular to the focus region of the Conference - sub-Saharan Africa - , achieving universal access to energy remains a big challenge, but one that comes with the great opportunity of choosing a path of sustainability and energy efficiency through unprecedented technological leap-frogging. In this sense, the private sector is widely recognised as a crucial actor, one that is able to seize market opportunities and at the same time meets the growing demand for safe, affordable, renewable and sustainable energy. The forum hosted interactive discussions on how to unlock the potential of the private sector by overcoming the political and financial barriers for off-grid renewable energy. There was also a segment dedicated to the link between energy and agriculture, a key theme which is also the core topic for the Expo Milano 2015 (energy & food security).

The forum witnessed the useful and detailed contributions that emerged from the discussion of the three panels, including the engaged and active participation of the Energy Ministers present in the room. The Italian Director General for Global Affairs, Mr. Luigi Marras, and his deputy DG Mr. Marco Marsilli, noted how the work of the afternoon had suggested many practical solutions for facilitating investment in Africa and creating stable focal points for future initiatives, both bilateral with Italy but also in Europe. Mr. Marsilli reminded the audience that more than 600 million Africans still lack access to modern energy services and about 80% of those still live in rural settings, making access to modern energy a major challenge that requires sustained action.

It was suggested that, despite its key role in providing modern and sustainable energy services, the private sector has not been sufficiently active or involved in relevant national, regional and international processes.The meeting concluded with a call from African leaders and European policy makers for the private sector to venture more actively into the energy sector, particularly in Africa, as the regulatory environment is increasingly and rapidly becoming more favorable.

Please find the agenda under Related Publications to the right.

For more information, please contact the AEEP Secretariat (aeep@euei-pdf.org) and join us on Twitter @AfricaEUEnergy.

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