The World Bank Group is committing $1.3 billion to support a global energy access drive for the 2018 fiscal year, the Head of Energy and Extractive Industries Global Practices at the Bank, Mr Riccardo Puliti, has said.
The figure is an increase from the previous $300 million from the bank into the energy sector on an annual basis over the last five years.
“We will commit people, resources, technology and knowledge to contribute to the global ambience and country level cooperation which is fundamental to ending poverty and promoting prosperity for all,” Mr Puliti said when he addressed the opening session of the 2018 edition of Sustainable Energy Forum in Lisbon, Portugal, yesterday.
The forum, which is on the theme: “Leaving No One Behind,” is being attended by governments, civil society groups, international organisations and business leaders from 20 countries.
Representatives from Ghana, Togo, Nigeria, Cameroun, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda are participating in the event which is also providing opportunities for African countries to ‘pitch’ for bigger collaborations and the development of diverse, cutting-edge energy solutions in their countries.
The forum seeks to close the energy gap and ensure the inclusion of women and the poor in the universal access to sustainable energy services.
According to Mr Puliti, although the reality of clean cooking technologies is catching up in recent years, access is, however, barely picking up with population growth and for the developing community and “this is not acceptable.”
Kenya, Mr Puliti emphasised, had made remarkable gains in recent years through a realistic approach which included grid and off-grid electrification, development of renewable energy resources, strengthening the transmission and distribution systems and promotion of solar borne systems.
“Other countries are following with similar approach and Rwanda is another success story in providing reliable and affordable energy sources,” he observed.
UN Secretary General
The United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Mr António Guterres, in a video address, called for partnerships to address global energy challenges.
“From industry to transportation, city to rural areas, it is time to end the age of fossil fuel, a lot more needs to be done to drive efficient renewable energy in all these sectors,” he said.
He stated that embracing technology in the change chain was necessary in achieving the “access for all” goal in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Chief Executive Officer and Special Representative to the UN on Sustainable Energy Forum (SEForAll), Ms Rachel Kyte, said collaboration was key in the transformative global energy process in the years ahead.
“We are making progress, but at a slow pace, and we have to double our efforts by raising ambitions on the basis to show knowledge that it can be done,” she added.