G20 ministers adopt energy action plan for sub-Saharan Africa

Istanbul, Oct 3 (IANS) G20 energy and natural resources ministers on Friday adopted an action plan seeking to boost access to energy for sub-Saharan Africa, a region facing an acute power shortage.

The so-called G20 Energy Action Plan highlighted the importance of a conductive enabling environment for increased investment and sustainable growth in the region, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We stress the need for public-private partnerships, stakeholder alliances and strong political commitment to energy access,” Turkish Energy and Natural Resource Minister Ali Riza Alaboyun told reporters at the conclusion of a two-day meeting here, the first of its kind for G20 energy ministers.

“The improvement of sub-Saharan countries in accessing energy has been following a very slow trend,” he noted. “Last year, around one percent improvement was achieved.”

“If the development continues at the same pace, half of the Sub-Saharan countries will continue to live in the dark,” warned the minister, whose country holds the G20 presidency.

Africa needs investment for producing an extra 6-7 kilowatt of power per year, energy experts said.

Alaboyun urged Turkey and China, which assumes the G20 presidency next year, to cooperate in Africa.

Globally over 1.1 billion people live without access to electricity and 2.6 billion people live without clean cooking facilities, a dire situation that also exposes them to health and environmental problems, according to the International Energy Agency.

In sub-Saharan Africa, more than 600 million people have no access to energy, while 730 million people are using unhealthy solid biomass in cooking.

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