Dr. Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the AU,
All protocols observed,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting me to share a few thoughts with you in this opening session. Later today, in the afternoon session, I will further elaborate on some of the issues.
Dr. Mwencha and I have worked together for almost two decades (since his days at COMESA) to promote value-addition and industrialization. Hence, both of us recognize the critical importance of energy and infrastructure for achieving the African Dream(s).
The Dream of African Leaders is that their economies will join the club of industrialized economies (or at least achieve middle income status), and that their nations will trade in higher-value manufactured products (not raw commodities) with their friends in Europe, China and the Americas.
The Dream of the African middle class families and their children is to have lasting decent jobs and shared prosperity, that they can travel to Europe, Asia and the Americas as tourists on an Airbus A380 (or Dreamliner) not on boats through Lampedusa, and that they can also navigate through the information super-highway with their iPads and Samsung galaxy-3 from their homes and offices.
None of these Dreams will be achieved without access to reliable and affordable energy. Earlier today, in his statement, Commission Pielbags explained the Energy-Nexus with social and economic development, and the critical importance of energy as a pillar of the post-2015 development agenda.
The dreams of African leaders, the middle class and the youth cannot be achieved without new business models to crowd in massive private capital and technology deployment. Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) is about creating enabling conditions for partnerships or creative coalitions among public, private and civil society actors, to catalyze significant investments for energy transitions.
This is why I have been a strong supporter and advocate for the EU-Africa Energy Partnership since its inception in 2007. In fact, I hosted a special session in Vienna for the African Energy Ministers during the first high level summit in 2010. It is also why I took up the difficult assignment of Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer for Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) Initiative. We see this partnership as a pragmatic, action-oriented implementation mechanism on the pathway to the SEforALL targets by 2030.
The deliberations over the past two days demonstrate real actions through programmes and projects with clear targets and milestones for 2020. The work in this EU-Africa Energy Partnership should also help to anchor "sustainable energy for all" as a dedicated goal in the post-2015 development agenda. SEforALL will work closely with you as we march forward in the next two decades.
Our Headquarters is now established in Vienna with the strong support of the Austrian government, EU Commission, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, and UK. We will work with you to achieve our common vision.