A high level discussion between the African Union and the European Commission on the implementation of the Africa – EU Energy Partnership, opened on Monday, 8 September 2008 at the headquarters of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The European delegation at the high level meeting was led by Mr. Louis Michel, European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid and Mr. Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for Energy.
The partnership will involve investments worth over €600 million to support electrification in Africa as well as renewable energy projects that would help diversify Europe’s energy supplies. A further agreement could be reached on Wednesday on a Transaharan Gas Pipeline, nicknamed the ‘African Nabucco’. It also includes a joint statement on an “Action Plan of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership,” signed with Dr. Elham Mahmoud Ahmed Ibrahim, the African Union’s commissioner for infrastructure and energy.
There it stresses the urgent need to promote Africa electrification and agreed to launch as soon as possible the process for the elaboration of an Electricity Master-Plan for Africa. In addition they also agreed to further define the Capacity Building Programme in support to the African Power Pools and AFUR which will be financed under the Energy Facility. Furthermore, both partners have agreed to advocate the importance of Renewable energy and they agreed to jointly elaborate a Road Map for the launching and implementation of a Renewable Energy Cooperation programme and to present this road map for discussion at the second joint experts working group meeting in the first semester of 2009.
Moreover, the joint statement called upon the European countries and the private sector to further mobilise resources for investment in the energy sector both in the supply and demand side. The EC informed that the European Commission is planning to replenish the Energy Facility Programme and provide additional contribution to the EU-Africa Infrastructure Partnership and its Trust Fund through the 10th EDF Intra-ACP programme and in addition national and regional programmes.
The AUC confirmed its willingness to further progress in the implementation of the €55m EC support programme for the period 2007-2011, in order to further improve its expertise on energy sector, launch technical studies, raise awareness and play an effective role as a “motor” for the active participation of the African energy regional, national authorities and stakeholders to the Africa-EU energy partnership.
Furthermore, the European Commission said it is planning to make more sums available in the future. Tarradellas said these could include:
During the meeting the AUC and EC also discussed the operational aspects of the Africa-EU energy cooperation and agreed to promote an effective Africa-EU dialogue on energy access and energy security and to put in place the institutional/governance set up as defined in the Joint Statement:
– a High Level Africa-EU Energy meeting at Ministerial Level to be organised every two years;
– an Africa-EU Energy Partnership Forum, involving civil society, research institutes and private sectors in both continents to take place every two years back to back to the High Level Energy meeting;
– an informal Joint Experts Group on energy to meet at least once a year to coordinate the various activities foreseen in the Action Plan and discuss other issues of common interest with the participation of African and European energy sector.
The AUC and EC agreed to organise the first energy joint expert meeting in Addis Ababa in October 2008 in the context of the preparation of the November 2008 Ministerial Troika meeting. They encouraged the involvement of other partners in the Africa-EU Energy Partnership like international donors and investors. They also agreed to report on the progress made on these actions at the first High-Level Energy meeting, which will be held in 2009.
The “Joint Statement on the implementation of the first Action Plan of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership” will be officially endorsed during the AU-EU College to College meeting which will take place on 1 October in Brussels.