The African Union Executive Council has adopted the African Common Position on Energy Access and Just Transition as a comprehensive approach that charts the continent’s short, medium, and long-term energy development pathways.
It is to accelerate universal energy access and transition without compromising development imperatives.
The African Union Commission (AUC), in collaboration with other Pan-African institutions, adopted the Common Position during the AU-Mid-Year Coordination Meeting on the fringes of the 41st Ordinary Session of the Executive Council at Lusaka, Zambia on July 15th, 2022.
The Common Position stipulates that Africa will continue to deploy all forms of its abundant energy resources, including renewable and non-renewable energy, to address energy demand, a copy of the document made available to the Ghana News Agency in Tema has stated.
According to the Common Position agreement, natural gas, green and low carbon hydrogen, and nuclear energy will be expected to play a crucial role in expanding modern energy access in the short to medium term while enhancing the uptake of renewables in the long term for low carbon and climate-resilient trajectory.
Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, the African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, described the adoption of the Common Position as “a major step forward.”
He said, “this is an important and major step forward towards ensuring and confirming Africa's right for a differentiated path towards the goal of universal access to energy, ensuring energy security for our Continent and strengthening its resilience, while at the same time acting responsibly towards our planet by improving the energy mix.”
Dr Abou-Zeid emphasized that it was a timely measure to push for favourable outcomes and tangible investments in energy and infrastructure at COP 27 set to take place in November 2022 in Sharm El Shiekh, Egypt.
He said access to energy currently stood low in Africa compared to other regions, with more than 600 million Africans living without electricity services while 900 million lack access to clean cooking facilities.
Dr Abou-Zeid stressed that the African Common Position encouraged striking a balance between ensuring access to electricity to catalysing the much-needed socio-economic growth in Africa and smoothly transitioning towards an energy system based on renewable and clean energy sources matching the ambitions of Agenda 2063.
He stated that the African Union attached high importance to the implementation of ambitious energy goals designed to build resilient energy infrastructure in the continent.
He, therefore, called on stakeholders to back initiatives such as the African Single Energy Market (AfSEM), the Continental Power System Masterplan (CMP), and the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).
“I urge stakeholders and potential public and private investors to accept and back Africa’s Common Position for Energy Access and Just Transition and support the African Union’s various energy security initiatives needed to develop technical and financial instruments and packages to fast-track African’s right to universal access to affordable and reliable electricity,” Dr Abou-Zeid stated.
Dr Abou-Zeid also called for the mobilization of adequate financing, accelerating regional integration to create large markets for energy development, harm harmonization policies, and regulatory frameworks.
He also encouraged technology transfer and capacity building which, he said are among the pillars of implementing Common Position to accelerate energy access and just transition in the continent.