14 September 2010 – South Africa is to attend the first high-level meeting of the Africa-European Union Energy Partnership (AEEP) in Vienna, Austria.
Minister of Energy, Dipuo Peters is expected to deliver a keynote address at the meeting.
"The minister will use this high level partnership meeting, which will be attended by several ministers, to reaffirm South Africa’s commitment to enhancing energy security and energy access as well as promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency in Africa," said the Energy Ministry in a statement.
The visit will also help to build on the positive aspects of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership which was signed by the African Union Commission and the European Commission in 2008.
The first high level meeting, to take place on 14 and 15 September, will be the first of its kind, bringing together leading politicians and decision-makers from Africa and Europe.
According to the AEEP website, a road map and concrete targets for the AEEP’s future work will be endorsed. The meeting will also see the launch the Africa-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme that will open new linkages in the energy economic sector for industrial trade and business cooperation between Africa and Europe, reaffirm the commitment to enhancing energy security and energy access on both continents, reinforce cooperation on energy interconnections within Africa and between Africa and the EU.
The co-chairs of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership are the African Union Commission, the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Mauritian Ministry of Energy and Public Utilities
The Energy Ministry said according to a study conducted by the World Bank on African Infrastructure in 2009, there is a poor state of infrastructure in the Sub-Saharan Africa, especially in the areas of electricity, water, roads and information and communication technology.
This study also indicated that due to the poor state of affairs, national economic growth had been reduced and business productivity was cut by as much as 40 percent.
"Minister Peters is of the view that without infrastructural development, it is not possible to stimulate economic growth," it said.
Government has endorsed the Integrated Energy Plan with its vision of transforming and creating a sustainable energy sector with universal access to modern energy carriers for all and improving the energy mix by having 30 percent of clean energy by 2025.