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U.N. Secretary-General calls for help with energy in Africa

United Nations
Ban Ki-moon
New York, United States — ESI-AFRICA.COM — 21 November 2011 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for greater support of efforts to provide 600 million people in Africa with affordable and sustainable energy to help the continent accelerate social and economic development.

“Ensuring access to reliable, efficient and affordable energy is a key element in advancing industrial development, creating decent jobs and increasing productive capacity, especially for small and medium enterprises and rural populations,” Ban said here in his message to mark African Industrialisation Day, whose theme this year is “Sustainable Energy for Accelerated Industrial Development.”

“Modern sources of energy will decrease dependence on primary commodities, reduce vulnerability to external shocks, and increase economic resilience,” he said, noting that the continent’s reliance on traditional biomass for cooking and heating represented a major impediment for progress.

Ban also stressed the need to make energy a priority in the development agenda, while noting that solutions should not endanger the environment, climate, and welfare of future generations. He added that next year’s UN Conference on Sustainable Development would represent a major opportunity to step up international action and investment on this issue.

Releasing this message, the U.N. News Service pointed out that the Secretary-General had consistently called for greater efforts to improve energy efficiency through his “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative. Earlier this month, he appointed a high-level group to help meet three energy objectives by the year 2030: universal access to modern energy services, doubling the rate of improving energy efficiency, and doubling the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.

“Achieving these goals can help to end energy poverty and catalyse a clean-energy revolution that benefits all humanity,” Ban said.

The UN General Assembly proclaimed 20 November Africa Industrialisation Day in 1989 to mobilise the commitment of the international community to support industrial development in Africa.