Africa needs sound energy policies to fight poverty and stimulate structural and economic transformation, said H.E. Gaya Mahaman Laouan, Secretary General of the African Petroleum Producers Organization at the 4th International Energy Forum (IEF) OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) Symposium on Energy Poverty on Thursday.
Delivering the keynote speech, H.E. Gaya said that there were two main challenges that impeded the alleviation of energy poverty on the continent – the promotion of inter-regional cooperation to mobilize complementary sources of energy in the field; and improving the attractiveness of foreign investment in the energy sector throughout the continent.
“These challenges can be addressed by meeting the needs of energy at a lower cost while reducing environmental impacts and ensuring good governance of energy resources and responsible management of non-reliable energy sources,” he said.
He further stated that addressing these challenges needed strong political will, well- designed energy strategies, more intra-African and regional cooperation, an improvement of national skills in the energy sector and the ability of countries to attract the required private investment.
H.E. Gaya highlighted that fighting energy poverty in Africa required policies that combine the fight against poverty, climate change, good governance and improved access to sustainable energy sources.
“African countries must be ambitious in their energy policies if they want to ensure their economic takeoff,” he noted, adding that the debate on energy poverty, particularly in Africa, will always occupy decision making as long as poverty persists.
“If Africa wants to achieve sustainable economic growth and avoid falling into fatal economic disrepair, it must face energy challenges that are essential for its sustainability,” he said.