The African Development Bank supports the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) wholeheartedly. And no component of the SDGs is more important than point number 7: Energy.
Africa cannot function because we have no power. We cannot grow, develop or prosper because we have no power.
Our homes, businesses, schools and hospitals suffer enormously. Factories lie idle for lack of power. The private sector is frozen in time. The lack of energy has put the brakes on Africa's industrialization.
600,000 people die every year because they don't have access to clean cooking energy. They die trying to prepare a meal for their families.
700 million people in Africa do not have access to clean cooking energy.
This is simply unacceptable.
And so we as the African Development Bank believe it is time to end the issue of lack of power on the continent. We must take bold steps, think differently and act with a greater sense of urgency.
Africa cannot stand by with such massive energy resources and yet be known for the darkness, not the brightness, of its cities and rural areas. Africa is blessed with limitless potential for solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal energy resources. And, of course, abundant supply of natural gas and coal. We must unlock Africa's energy potential - both conventional and renewable.
Africa is simply tired of being in the dark. That is why the African Development Bank has launched a New Deal for Energy in Africa, to fast-track universal access to power by 2025: lighting up and powering Africa in 10 years, not 50 years.
The Bank will significantly expand its investment in energy to support countries and the private sector. But this is not a task for one institution on its own. This will be a collective effort. To that end, the Bank is launching a Transformative Partnership on Energy in Africa. Partnerships for impact.
To make this work, the Bank and our partners need to raise our aspirations and raise our financing. And the countries themselves have to do more, in terms of devoting a greater share of their GDP to the energy sector.
We need to work with and enable the private sector. Pricing and utilities need to be structured in a way that attracts private sector investment.
And we need strong political will. I am absolutely convinced that working with the African Union, the Economic Commission for Africa, and with our African Heads of State, we can solve this problem. Starting now.
We must light up and power Africa.
Thank you very much.