Addis Ababa — The European Union (EU) on Wednesday said Africa needs 40 billion dollars worth of annual investment to meet its energy needs by the year 2040.
EU's Special Representative to the African Union, Mr Gary Quince, said this at the opening of the Second High Level Ministerial Meeting of the Africa-EU Energy Partnership in Addis Ababa.
He said the projected investment profile represents six per cent growth to meet the targeted Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) energy sufficiency of 700GW by 2040.
The two-day Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) is an established framework for energy co-operation between the two continents, offering a platform for dialogue and co-ordination of joint activities.
The meeting was convened to review the performance of the first meeting held in 2010.
It had projected then that 100 million Africans would have access to clean energy by 2020.
Quince said the African energy demand was informed by the projection of its population, which is estimated to grow to two billion by 2050.
The population estimate shows that one out of every four people is living in the continent.
"To keep the pace with this demand, generation capacity must increase to almost 700 GW by 2040, six-fold increase compared to the current 125 GW.
" In terms of investment, African energy needs will require an annual investment of over 40 billion dollars per year to 2040, the majority being for expanded generating capacity but also with significant investment in regional transmission and integration in the power sector," Quince said.
He said the need to address the African energy deficit was also informed by the continent's rate of recovery after the global financial meltdown.
The EU special representative said the recovery pace saw Africa's economic growth hitting between four to five per cent per annum.
According to Quince, energy poverty is one of the biggest challenges for sustainable development in the continent.
"While the continent's energy needs are growing substantially, the available resources are more than sufficient to meet the continent's demand.
"Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change."
He however said "with its vast and untapped natural resources, Africa is an ideal place to develop innovative technologies and renewable energy solutions."
Quince said the EU was well-equipped to support capacity development, provide renewable and energy-efficient technologies which would help in enhancing regulatory and investment frameworks.
"At the current electrification rate, the target set by African and EU Energy ministers back in 2010 to provide 100 million Africans with access to modern and sustainable energy services may be met in 2020," he said.
The meeting was held preparatory to the EU-Africa Energy Summit expected to hold at the EU headquarters in Brussels in April.