Washngton, DC — U.S. Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz and H.E. Girma Birru, Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia co-hosted a landmark Africa Energy Ministerial Ambassadors Roundtable in preparation for the upcoming U.S.-Africa Energy Ministerial (AEM) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on June 3-4, 2014 with Ambassadors from 38 African countries.
The AEM will focus on the theme of “Catalyzing Sustainable Energy Growth in Africa” and provide a forum for major announcements and commitments that support energy development throughout Africa. The Ministerial will showcase African leadership in energy development, explore strategies and effective practices across Africa and the United States for accelerating development of clean energy sources and adoption of energy efficient technologies, review best practices in oil and gas resource development, and highlight progress on President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative.
The Roundtable provided an opportunity for the African Ambassadors to make recommendations regarding the Ministerial, as well as to more broadly address the topic of energy production and conservation in Africa. Secretary Moniz remarked that the AEM will serve as a fundamental site for cross-cultural learning; he subsequently remarked that very small amounts of energy can be transformative in underdeveloped areas, expressing that U.S. private sector companies alongside the African state-owned sector can be the critical link to foster this development.
The Roundtable solidified the monumental role energy plays in Africa’s development. H.E. Cheikh Niang, Ambassador of the Republic of Senegal raised the importance of integrating poor, rural areas into Africa’s energy endeavors, as disparity within countries is a considerable hindrance to social, political and economic growth. He stated that rural areas are too often underserved, and that alternative resources such as solar energy could be utilized as a solution to bring energy to these areas.
The Ambassadors Roundtable showcased that Africa is transitioning, as H.E. Tebelelo Mazile Seretse, Ambassador of the Republic of Botswana remarked: “Africa is talking trade, not just aid”. H.E. Somduth Soborun, Ambassador of the Republic of Mauritius pushed for the re-authorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) as crucial in growing Africa’s economy alongside the Ministerial, which will complement Africa’s overarching development objectives. H.E. Adebowale Ibidapo Adefuye, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Nigeria articulated that although Obama’s Power Africa Initiative will substantially grow access to energy in the continent, many African countries have been dedicated to addressing such issues prior to international collaboration. He added African countries are interested in Power Africa’s quantifiable deliverables, with anticipation that this partnership will certainly add to the domestic efforts that have already been taken.
H. E. Girma Birru stated in his closing remarks the important role of the U.S. government in convincing global private sector companies to invest in Africa. The AEM will render support for President Obama’s upcoming U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit in August, and is committed to fostering a long-term strategy to increase power in Africa for the purpose of sustainable development. Secretary Moniz closed this historic Ambassador Roundtable by declaring that the Africa Energy Ministerial will mark the continuation of meaningful U.S.-Africa collaboration on energy development to achieve common interests and objectives for Africa’s growth.
As information becomes available updates will be posted to www.usafricaenergyministerial.com