United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

African Group

Fifth session of the General Assembly Open Working Group on Sustainable
Development Goals (SDGs) (New York, 26 November 2013)
Statement on behalf of the African Group by H.E. Mr. Nelson Messone, Ambassador,
Permanent Representative of Gabon to the United Nations, on: “Energy”
1. I thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak on behalf of the African Group.
2. The Group acknowledges the presence of Mr. Adnan Amin, Director-General, International
Renewable Energy Agency, Professor Daniel Kammen from University of California, Berkeley
and Professor Vijay Modi from Columbia University. I would like also to take this opportunity to
thank the Technical Support Team (TST) for the useful “issues brief” it has prepared.
3. At the outset, the African Group would like to underscore that energy is a critical to achieving
the overarching goal of poverty eradication.
4. We would like to remind you of this staggering fact: the 48 countries of Sub-Saharan Africa
(with a combined population of 800 million) generate roughly the same amount of power as
Spain (with a population of 45 million)! It is important to recall that only one in four Africans
has access to modern energy sources such as electricity. According to the International Energy
Agency (IEA) World Energy Outlook, 1.3 billion people lack access to electricity and 2.7 billion
people are without clean cooking facilities; of which, a great number if not the majority are
Africans living in rural areas. And IEA projections for 2030 are even more alarming.
5. The African Group would like to underline the efforts led by the continent towards the three (3)
objectives of the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) initiative to overcome its energy deficits
and achieve sustainable development. Beyond the Programme for Infrastructure Development in
Africa (PIDA), Africa’s contribution includes the development of SE4ALL action plan
guidelines, a policy framework for sustainable charcoal, and a strategy for decentralized energy
services that are to be adopted. In addition a SE4ALL Africa Hub was launched in May to
coordinate and facilitate the initiative implementation on the continent.
6. The issue of funding remains critical in that regard. Public funding remains necessary but should
be complemented by other resources. No effort must be spared to fill the financial gap, including
through ODA, increased public-private partnerships and the creation of conditions conducive to
7. Furthermore, now that many African countries have embarked on pursuing a new growth model,
harnessing renewable sources of energy is paramount to address the growing demand for energy
in the continent. An important work of assessment analyses and energy mix scenarii is being
conducted in that regard.
8. The Group therefore welcomes the declaration of the 2014-2024 decade as the “UN Decade of
Sustainable Energy for All”. With more than 70 government engaged with and US$50 billion
committed to the initiative, we formulate the wish that these converging international efforts
focusing on energy poverty will help to contain its negative impact. Again, we are calling for a
more conducive global dialogue and the creation of new and balanced business models. As stated
in the TST Issue Brief on Energy: “Without access to sustainable energy services, other
development goals cannot be achieved”.
9. With regard to Africa, it would be an illusion to consider development without energy, a key
factor for sustained and inclusive economic growth, infrastructure development and
industrialization. Moreover, there is no doubt that energy has a multiplier effect on other
objectives related to poverty reduction, education, health, women’s empowerment, environment,
agriculture and food security to name a few.
10. To conclude, the African Group would like to reiterate its attachment to a stand-alone goal on
structural transformation, sustained economic growth, industrialization, infrastructure and
I thank you.