The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Launch of the Africa Energy Transition Partnership

Remarks by Jorge Moreira da Silva, UN Under-Secretary-General and UNOPS Executive Director, at the 'Launch of the Africa Energy Transition Partnership' event, co-hosted by Sustainable Energy for All and UNOPS at COP28.

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Excellencies, colleagues, friends,

It is a pleasure to be here at the launch of this important initiative.

UNOPS is truly proud to be a partner at the Africa Energy Transition Partnership. It is another key step in our ongoing commitment to support the move to a sustainable energy system and build resilient energy infrastructures globally, so that countries achieve economic growth and ensure energy security while cutting emissions.

Lack of access to energy - as we all know - is a serious impediment to human development and economic growth in the African continent.

At the risk of being repetitive - it’s worth reminding ourselves of the sheer scale of this problem:

Over 40% of the population in Africa live without access to electricity, and 70% without access to clean cooking fuels.

The failure to deliver on SDG7 - which aims to ensure access to clean and affordable energy for all - has serious consequences across all aspects of the 2030 Agenda: from the health and well-being of populations, to access to healthcare and education, not to mention the triple planetary crisis that we face.

Simply, without access to reliable and clean energy, there will be no sustainable development.

And Africa’s rapid economic expansion means a huge demand for energy services that are sustainable and affordable. This is a core development challenge for the continent.

When we talk about energy access in Africa - the conversation tends to focus on poverty and the needs.

But there is a positive story to be told here too - about what the future holds - if investments in the global energy transition are done in a sustainable, equitable and just way.

The energy transition holds immense possibilities for social and economic development in Africa.

Renewables, including solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal are projected to account for over 80% of new power generation capacity by 2030, if Africa achieves all its energy-related development goals on time and in full.

Globally, the cost of clean energy is falling - and even if slowly - global investment patterns are shifting - as more countries commit to net zero emissions by 2050.

All of this could spell good news for Africa - but we need more equitable investment and access to technology - and the right partnerships that can build on capacities and innovations from Africa and beyond.

Solar - for example- is key to this energy and economic transition. And yet - while Africa is home to 60% of the best solar resources globally, it has only 1% of installed solar PV capacity. In fact, currently, only about 3% of energy investments worldwide are made in Africa, even though the continent is home to 17% of the world’s population.

This needs to change - and partnerships such as this one can play a significant role in driving joint solutions, and mobilizing the technical and financing resources needed for universal access to energy. The Africa Energy Transition Partnership will in its first phase focus on Ghana, Kenya, and Nigeria, with other African countries to be identified as the programme rolls out.

Africa’s journey of energy transition - while unique - runs in parallel to similar efforts globally. And at UNOPS we are proud to build on the experience we have gathered in Asia, as fund manager for the ongoing Southeast Asia Energy Transition Partnership (ETP).

This is a multi-donor partnership of governments and philanthropic partners formed to accelerate sustainable energy transition in Southeast Asia. Focusing on Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines, ETP engages private and public partners to drive change at policy, fiscal and technology level. Through technical assistance programs, it works on the environment to drive investment in renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable resilient infrastructures ultimately targeting achievement of the Paris Accords.

And it has already achieved impressive results: It has raised 50m USD in funds, from 10 funders including governments and philanthropies. It has directly supported 23 governments. Thanks to this involvement, 15 Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, laws, regulations, and technical standards have been endorsed by the national governments, paving the way for the decarbonisation of the energy sector.

These results make us more determined to continue on this path. And our ongoing partnership with SEforALL is a further testament to that commitment.

UNOPS has a focus on operations and implementation, and SEforALL has renowned experience in driving action towards SDG7. Together, we can more effectively contribute to a better future for Africa - marked sustainable, universal and resilient access to energy. I look forward to our continued partnership.

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