Ghana and nine other African countries have been selected to benefit from collaborative projects between global energy major, Eni-SpA, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) aimed at improving access to sustainable energy.
The move will also see to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the selected countries and bring relief to millions of people.
The Chief Executive Officer of Eni, Mr Claudio Descalzi, and the UNDP Administrator, Mr Achim Steiner, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) during an official ceremony hosted by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations (UN) on the margins of the 73rd General Assembly yesterday.
The latest partnership, which is the first of its kind between the UNDP and a global energy company, would cover Ghana, Angola, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt and Gabon.
The rest are Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria and Tanzania, which are among the first countries slated for the initial roll out.
Per the agreement, Eni would develop business ventures to increase access to clean energy in the region and UNDP will use its extensive development network in over 170 countries to foster an enabling environment to implement the partnership and assess its sustainable impact in local communities.
Eni, which operates in Ghana and other African countries, delivered more than 56 billion cubic metres of gas to domestic markets in 14 countries in Africa in 2017. In Ghana, the company is the lead operator of the Sankofa Offshore Cape There Points (OCTP) project currently delivering gas for thermal units for energy generation.
A statement issued in New York yesterday said Ghana’s access to energy was at the heart of Eni’s activities and that all the gas produced by the OCTP project was dedicated to the Ghanaian domestic market to support power generation with a locally-sourced fuel.
The move, it added, would serve as a substitute for the more expensive and polluting fuels such as light crude oil.
The company said it was also working with state authorities to develop solar power projects for clean energy for Ghana.
18 million people
Mr Descalzi said, “We are now launching new investments in renewable energy across the continent.”
He said Eni had invested about $2 billion in sub-Saharan Africa in the construction and restoration of networks and power plants, supplying electricity to over 18 million people.
Access to energy
Mr Descalzi said improving access to energy, especially in Africa, was core to the company’s values, and it was now an intrinsic part of the business.
“We invest more than half of our budget in Africa, boosting the domestic potential and promoting local development,” he said.
He added: “This MoU – a first for the energy sector – underscores the credibility of our efforts and the soundness of our business model.”
For his part, the UNDP Administrator said, “The private sector is a strategic partner that can help realise our vision for inclusive development, as outlined in Agenda 2030 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.”
Mr Steiner added, “the UNDP and Eni’s combined expertise, ability to innovate, and on-the-ground networks can enable better access to sustainable energy sources in Africa.”
The pact, he said, demonstrated how working together to achieve the SDGs, specifically SDG 17 on partnerships, 13 for climate, 12 for sustainable consumption and production, and above all SDG 7 on affordable and clean energy.
Mr Steiner said the UNDP would work to ensure the success of the partnership in accelerating access to sustainable energy sources in order to meet the social and environmental objectives envisaged in Agenda 2030.
Affordability and reliability
Africa’s energy demands are expected to rise with rapid urbanisation and economic growth. The 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), specifically SDG 7, calls for universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services, including clean fuels and technologies.
Eni projects will include electricity production from photovoltaic (PV) plants (including floating systems), wind farms, off-grid hybrid solutions, reforestation and clean cooking solutions.
As part of this partnership, the UNDP will also work to raise awareness of clean energy and sustainable business models, and provide training and capacity building in recipient communities.
The MoU follows the launch of the Centre for Climate and Sustainable Development initiative in Rome in September 2017 under the joint auspices of the Italian Ministry of Environment and the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) to facilitate sustainable development in Africa.