Nairobi, Kenya — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 01 March 2012 – All stakeholders across Africa have been urged to make commitments, as part of the Action Agenda, on how to achieve sustainable energy for all on the continent by 2030.

Speaking at an event marking the Africa rollout of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All at UNEP headquarters here, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) executive director Achim Steiner and International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) director general Adnan Amin emphasised the importance of energy for economic and social development across the continent, to improve the lives of the poorest in a more sustainable manner.

Investments in clean energy allowed countries in the region to harness substantial renewable energy resource endowments and to leapfrog to modern and efficient infrastructure development.
The two leaders referred to many examples that were implemented throughout the region already and that should be replicated and scaled up.

Minister of State in the Tanzanian Ministry for Environment Terezya Luoga Hovisa highlighted the enormous renewable energy potential ranging from solar, geothermal, hydro, wind and modern biomass that could be harnessed to achieve universal access to energy.
 
“I call upon all actors to work together to implement the commitments outlined in the 2011 Johannesburg Declaration of the Africa Energy Ministers Conference,” Hovisa said.

Steiner, who also serves as a UN Under-Secretary-General, called for implementation of the initiative’s "Framework for Action," designed to guide the work of governments, the private sector and civil society as they mobilise, facilitate, and monitor efforts to expand energy access, promote efficiency standards and policies, and strengthen investment in renewables.

Speaking about the Secretary-General’s initiative, Steiner said, “Engagement by the private sector is essential to boost economic growth and reduce poverty. It will help address the huge need for investments in Africa and mobilise the action necessary to provide universal access to modern energy services.”

Globally, one person in five lacks access to modern electricity, and nearly three billion people rely on wood, coal, charcoal or animal waste for cooking and heating.

Adnan Amin spoke about the immense potential for significantly increasing investment in renewable energy based on establishing an enabling policy environment and enhanced capacity.

In this regard, Kenya is paving the way for other African nations with its pledge to be kerosene-free by 2018 and in its use of wind and geothermal energy to power municipalities.