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28th Nov 2020

EU to help Africa expand energy sector

The EU is to help African countries expand their electricity networks and promote energy interconnections between Africa and the EU, such as a Trans-Saharan gas pipeline.

The EU aid will amount to €1 billion for a period of two years, the European Commission and the African Union announced in a joint statement on Monday (8 September).

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The joint statement was signed on Monday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, by EU Energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs, EU development commissioner Louis Michel and African Union (AU) commissioner for infrastructure and energy, Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim of Egypt.

It is the first concrete step to implementing the Africa-EU partnership, which was agreed in December 2007, according to a commission statement, which stressed "the urgent need to promote Africa electrification."

The EU is to offer technical assistance worth €10 million to African utility regulators, the statement adds.

A further priority of the Africa-EU energy partnership is to be the development of oil and gas pipelines between African countries, but also between Africa and the EU, such as the €9 billion Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline, planned to transport up to 30 billion cubic metres of gas per year to Europe via Nigeria, Niger and Algeria by 2015.

The EU and AU commissioners also agreed to increase transparency, elaborate a road map for the launch and implementation of a renewable energy co-operation programme and support for Africa's participation in the Global Gas Flaring Reduction partnership of oil and gas producing countries.

The joint statement calls upon the European countries and the private sector "to further mobilise resources for investment in energy sector" on both the supply and demand side.

The EU will also provide additional contributions to the EU-Africa Infrastructure Partnership and its Trust Fund, while the AU commission confirmed its "willingness" to further progress in the implementation of the €55 million European Commission support programme for the period 2007-2011 for the energy sector.

Despite the announcement, however, the International Energy Agency has earlier warned that Africa needs to spend an estimated €400 billion by 2030 to generate an additional 260,000 MW of power.

A next meeting on the Africa-EU energy partnership will take place on 1 October in Brussels.

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