UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for greater support to provide 600 million people in Africa with affordable and sustainable energy to enable 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 in his message to mark
African Industrialization Day.
The message, which was made available to PANA in New York on Monday, stated that the theme of this year’s commemoration is: “Sustainable Energy for Accelerated Industrial Development”.
He said: “modern sources of energy will decrease dependence on primary commodities, reduce vulnerability to external shocks, and increase economic resilience.”
He also noted that, “the continent’s reliance on traditional biomass for cooking and heating represents a major impediment for progress.”
The secretary-general also stressed the need to make energy a priority in Africa’s development agenda, saying, however, that, “solutions should not endanger the environment, climate, and welfare of future generations”.
He added that, “next year”s UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio 20) represents a major opportunity to step up international action and investment” on this issue.”
Ban further said that he had consistently called for greater effort to improve energy efficiency through Sustainable Energy for All initiative.
“Achieving these goals can help to end energy poverty and catalyze a clean-energy revolution that benefits all humanity,” he said.
The UN General Assembly proclaimed 20 November Africa Industrialization Day in 1989 to mobilize the commitment of the international community to support industrial development in Africa.
Earlier this month, the UN Secretary-General appointed a high-level group to help meet three energy objectives by the year 2030.
The three objectives are: 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