Participants at a forum discussing Africa’s electrification challenges held in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa on Monday urged closer China-Africa energy partnership to help meet the continent’s energy needs.
According to a dispatch from the Xinhua News Agency, the forum on, “Grid Connection Gearing Up Sustainable Africa” was organized by Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), a Chinese non-governmental, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting sustainable development of energy worldwide.
Kuang Weilin, Chinese ambassador to the AU, told attendees at the forum China is ready to work with the AU and its 55 member states to meet the needs of estimated 600 million Africans who lack electricity to undertake their daily activities.
“African energy interconnection will enhance economic integration, improve African people’s living standards and unleash great potential for intra-Africa trade,” he said.
Kuang said China has keenly followed AU’s efforts to electrify the continent through the AU’s Agenda 2063 declarations and is ready to help Africa in its electrification drive through various Chinese-led initiatives.
Kuang said the Belt and Road (B&R) Initiative and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) are two Chinese-led initiatives that can incorporate China-Africa energy partnership in their frameworks.
He said the September FOCAC summit will heavily focus on China-Africa partnership in renewable, clean energy sector, with many African countries seeing energy as a key driver of their development.
Sileshi Bekele, the Ethiopian Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, said his country’s electricity needs are growing by 20 percent with an annual 10 percent economic growth during the last 15 years.
“Ethiopia is building with Chinese assistance 12 industrial parks, several agro-processing industrial parks and is creating a transport infrastructure, including railways that are dependent on electricity from renewable energy,” he told the forum.
“Ethiopia is partnering with China on clean energy development as part of its climate resilient green economy strategy and contribute to creating a healthier earth by using clean and safe energy,” said Bekele.
Bekele said Africa has only used 10 percent of its hydro power potential and even less from other energy sources.