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IEA urges global community to support Africa on energy access

The International Energy Agency took part in the inaugural Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi this week to support discussions on Africa’s growing role in global climate and energy issues and the opportunity presented by clean energy for the continents economic future 

The IEA delegation was led by executive director Fatih Birol, who met with leaders from government, industry and civil society during the three-day event. He emphasised Africa’s huge clean energy potential and highlighted the need for a dramatic increase in energy investment on the continent, which has languished in recent years despite Africa’s major natural resources and its countries’ young and dynamic populations.

Birol called for a 'New Energy Pact for Africa', a key theme from his recent joint op-ed with President William Ruto of Kenya, and urged the international community to enable African countries to swiftly tackle issues of energy access across the continent, particularly access to clean cooking.

To inform efforts to bridge the energy investment gap in Africa, the IEA unveiled a new report at the Summit that it developed in partnership with the African Development Bank Group (AfDB). Financing Clean Energy in Africa – which includes a special forward by Ruto – explores innovative solutions to lower barriers to global clean energy spending in Africa. The report, which was launched by Birol and AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina at a special event in Nairobi, found that urgent action is needed to improve access to capital and ease financing costs so African countries can meet their development ambitions, as well as international energy access and climate goals.

On the sidelines of the Summit, Birol also co-chaired with COP28 president-designate Sultan Al Jaber the second in a series of high-level dialogues ahead of the UN climate summit in Dubai later this year. The dialogues aim to build consensus around an energy transition aligned with limiting the rise in global temperatures to 1.5 °C. Participants in the dialogue in Nairobi included ministers from Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Malawi, Mozambique, Sierra Leone, Togo and Zambia – as well as African Union Commissioner Amani Abou-Zeid, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry and other international figures.

The IEA also facilitated a discussion at the Summit on the vital role of energy efficiency in Africa’s economic development. The panel featured insights from Commissioner Abou-Zeid, Kenya’s Minister of Energy and Petroleum Davis Chirchir, Ghana’s Energy Minister Matthew Opoku Prempeh and Portugal’s Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Ana Fontoura Gouveia, with Birol delivering the keynote remarks.

African energy issues are a longstanding and growing priority for the IEA. There are now five African members of the IEA Family: Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Senegal and South Africa, with Kenya and Senegal joining earlier this year.

During the Summit, Birol and Chirchir signed a Joint Work Programme to further enhance collaboration between the IEA and the Kenyan government. The programme deepens cooperation on energy data and models, policy advice, and areas of work such as access to clean cooking supplies and improving energy efficiency.

To help build capacity for the next generation of policy makers in the region, the IEA will host its second Energy Efficiency Policy Training Week for Africa in Nairobi in March 2024. And the IEA’s 9th Annual Global Conference on Energy Efficiency will be held in Nairobi in June 2024.