I am pleased to send greetings to this important meeting. The Sustainable Development Goals are dedicated to providing greater prosperity, opportunity and well-being for all on a healthy planet. Expanding access to sources of clean, renewable energy links all these objectives.
At COP 21 in Paris, African governments, under the leadership of the African Union, launched the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative. I thank President Hollande for the strong support of the Government of France, and I commend the African Union Commission, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the African Group of Negotiators, the African Development Bank, the UN Environment Program and the International Renewable Energy Agency for the vision and hard work that have helped to bring the Initiative to this point.
With this Initiative, African countries have shown visionary commitment to reducing energy poverty. This affects nearly every Sustainable Development Goal. Moving to clean energy is imperative for tackling climate change. It will help to increase prosperity, health and well-being, improve food, water and energy security, promote sustainable cities and provide impetus to low-carbon economic growth.
Continuing technological advances, lower costs and the successful deployment of renewable energy systems in many developed and developing countries have demonstrated their potential to satisfy energy requirements and replace polluting energy sources. This technological progress offers tremendous opportunities for countries in Africa and other developing regions which have significant solar, wind and geothermal energy potential. However, many barriers remain, including lack of investment, technical assistance and capacity support.
The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative will provide an effective mechanism to build momentum and strengthen technical and entrepreneurial approaches to rapidly increase the use of renewable energy technologies in many African countries. I wholeheartedly support the Initiative’s aim of increasing Africa’s installed renewable energy capacity by 10 gigawatts by 2020 and by 300 gigawatts by 2030.
I congratulate Africa for its leadership and vision, and I thank the partners for their efforts in supporting Africa’s ambitions. I wish you a productive meeting.