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New York, 22 November 2011

Ambassador Téte António, Permanent Observer of the African Union to the United Nations,
Mr. Modest Jonathan Mero, Minister Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of the United Republic of Tanzania to the United Nations
Mr. George Assaf, Director, UNIDO New York Office and Representative to the United Nations,
Mr. Winston Soboyejo, Professor, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University
Mr. Andrew Yager, Policy Analysis and Networks Branch, Division for Sustainable Development, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my honour to join you for today’s celebration of African Industrialization Day 2011.

In marking this event annually, Member States reaffirm their ongoing commitment to mobilizing the international community for the industrialization of Africa.

This year, we pay special attention to the theme “Sustainable Energy for Accelerated Industrial Development in Africa.”

Ensuring sustainable energy use is more pressing today than ever: over one billion people still live without access to electricity. To meet their basic energy needs for daily life, billions of people rely on unsustainable energy sources.

In December 2010, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2012 the “International Year of Sustainable Energy for All”.

This year-long observance will provide much-needed focus on the UN system’s efforts to ensure energy access for populations worldwide.

It will also help to promote the sustainable use of traditional energy resources, cleaner technologies and newer energy sources.

These factors, as well as access to efficient, affordable, traditional clean energy and modern sources of energy, are essential for improving populations’ quality of life, particularly women and children.

As the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) marks 10 years as a continental programme fast tracking Africa’s development agenda, it is important to underscore once again that energy infrastructure is a key driver for the economic growth.

NEPAD's energy programme has made tireless efforts to improve energy generation and access across the continent.

Yet it must also be recognized that, despite this progress, critical challenges remain.

Overcoming energy poverty is one such challenge.

To do so, the sustainable use of traditional energy resources as well as access to efficient, affordable modern energy sources and services are required.

This will enable African countries to tap into global production networks and reap the benefits of economies of scale.

Job creation, income generation, poverty reduction and an increase in the quality of life – particularly for women and children – are the ultimate benefits of sustainable energy.

As President of the General Assembly, I am fully committed to supporting Member States in their efforts to implement sustainable energy in Africa, to accelerate industrial development, and to promote broad-based poverty reduction.

I encourage Member States to work together to achieve the goals of sustainable energy in Africa.

Thank you.

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