Importance of private sector highlighted at Somali Government Sustainable Energy Forum in Mogadishu
Mogadishu, 8th November 2017. Representatives from the Somali Federal Government, Federal Member States, United Nations, and local and international private sector have met this week in Mogadishu for a two-day, first of its kind forum on increasing access to sustainable energy in Somalia. Private and public sector investment, regulation, and partnership amongst the sectors attending were highlighted as central to increasing energy access in the country.
With only 15 per cent electrification rate in the country, over 9 million Somalis still have no access to electricity. Ninety-six per cent of the population rely on charcoal and firewood for basic energy needs which results in environmental degradation and diminishing livelihoods. This also poses a security concern as young people can become radicalised due to lack of employment opportunities. However, the country also has vast solar, wind and other renewable resources which have so far remained untapped.
Opening the event, H.E. Salim Aliyow, Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Federal Government of Somalia, outlined the Government’s renewable energy goals under its National Development Plan and said that a first step was to develop a Sustainable Energy Investment Policy and Energy Strategy focusing on energy efficiency and renewable energy. “Such a policy and strategy can promote decentralized renewable energy systems across the country, and that includes private sector investment” he said.
H.E. Sadiq Abdullahi Abdi, Minister of Public Works, Reconstruction and Housing, Federal Government of Somalia, said: “Let’s bring Somalia out of the dark and into the twenty first century. We must undertake this significant task with strong leadership, in particular private sector leadership. Together, the government and private sector, and with our international partners, we can succeed.”
Mr. Michael Keating, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for Somalia, said that Somalia is a place of enormous natural and entrepreneurship potential, and highlighted the important role of the government in developing energy policy and regulation, alongside public and private sector investment and utilising the support of the international community.
“One of the great tragedies of Somalia has been the destruction of the natural environment, the competition for tree products, and pasture, and electrification and access to renewable energy could change that. On security grounds, unfortunately many of the conflicts in this country are about access to precious resources, whether its water resources, pasture land, or charcoal. Renewable energy can break that cycle. With investment and the right regulatory environment, there can be huge increase in energy access,” he said.
The two-day forum, which was organised with the support of the United Nations Development Programme, concluded with a set of next steps for the government and its partners to develop private and public project proposals that can be launched in 2018, and which are aligned to Government’s National Development Plan and the objectives of the London Conference on Somalia.
Keelin FitzGerald, Communications Specialist, UNDP Somalia. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org