819 (XXXI). Promotion of energy resources development and utilization in Africa


The Conference of Ministers,


            Taking into account the overall objective of the Conference of African Ministers responsible for the Development and Utilization of Mineral Resources and Energy which is to formulate and promote policies, strategies and programmes for a greater contribution of mineral and energy resources to socio-economic development in Africa by the year 2020,


            Taking further into account the fact that sustainable economic development is impossible without the rational utilization and development of energy resources on a sustainable basis,


            Considering that Africa possesses considerable conventional and renewable energy resources and that energy resources to date have contributed little to development in general and rural development in particular in Africa,


            Realizing that energy is a critical input for the development and transformation of rural areas where the majority of the Africa's population lives,


            Further recognizing that governments, the private sector, non-governmental and other groups are important actors in the process of sustainable development of energy resources and considering the importance of reforms under way to optimize the role of these actors for the development of the sector,


            Realizing that in order to achieve sustainable economic development and the transformation of rural communities, it is necessary to increase dramatically the level of energy services accessible to and to be enjoyed by all sections of society especially the poor,


            Recognizing also that energy development should be geared for the alleviation of rural poverty by providing appropriate energy sources for productive economic activities,


            Taking into consideration that the Lagos Plan of Action for the economic development of Africa, the Abuja Treaty establishing the African Economic Community and the resolutions of various conferences regarding the need for the coordination and the integration of energy activities at the subregional and regional levels,


            Recognizing that sustainable development and exploitation of energy resources should take into account the preservation of the environment for Africa's future generations,



                                                             A.  Policies and strategies


            1.         Recommends that African States should continue to formulate and implement coherent energy strategies and policies that will enhance greater contribution of energy to socio-economic development which emphasizes regional and subregional cooperation, drawing upon the valuable experiences gained in various subregional and regional institutions;


            2.         Urges African States to tailor their energy policies and strategies to meet the specific needs and aspirations of their populations, in particular the gender dimensions, for their socio-economic betterment, especially of the rural populations;


            3.         Recommends that African States should establish energy conservation and efficiency programmes as an important element of their energy policies and strategies;


            4.         Urges African States to establish appropriate legal, fiscal, financial incentives and establish appropriate credit mechanisms and physical infrastructure to facilitate access to energy , including new and renewable sources of energy, by low-income consumers to meet their energy needs; and


            5.         Calls upon African States to pursue subregional and regional cooperation and interconnections of their energy systems whenever and wherever viable;


                                           B.  Private sector participation and deregulation


            6.         Urges African States to initiate concrete actions which include, inter alia, sectoral reforms, and participation of the private sector by creating the necessary conducive and enabling environment for the optimal operation of the energy sector, in order to improve efficiency, production and supply of energy;


            7.         Urges also African States to encourage sectoral reforms to allow their energy institutions greater autonomy in order to make them competitive;


                                                               C.  Poverty alleviation


            8.         Urges African States to establish and strengthen specialized government agencies, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations, to handle rural electrification and increase supply of energy;


            9.         Recommends that African States should develop their new and renewable energy and increase productive activities with a view to alleviating poverty;


            10.       Calls upon African States to initiate at the regional and subregional levels the local manufacturing of turbines and generators for mini-hydropower as well as the setting up of manufacturing plants for equipment to utilize renewable energy resources in order to increase access to energy in the rural areas and achieve sustainable rural electrification programmes;


            11.       Urges African countries to formulate innovative mechanisms for providing financial and technical assistance to small- and medium-scale energy users in the industrial and agricultural sectors in accessing energy and the related equipment and appliances;


                                                        D.  Cooperation and integration


            12.       Recommends that the African Energy Commission initially and provisionally should be established as a loose body serviced jointly by existing institutional capacity in the Economic Commission for Africa, the Organization of African Unity, the African Development Bank and the subregional economic groupings, until the time is opportune for the creation of the African Energy Commission;


            13.       Urges African States to promote solidarity through the development of regional cooperation, the exchange of information and experiences, the coordination of programmes and the exploitation of complementary energies which exist in most African subregions, together with the sharing of technological innovations and management;


            14.       Calls upon the Economic Commission for Africa and other African organizations to establish energy networks for the exchange of information on the development and utilization of energy resources in general and new and renewable energy resources in particular;


            15.       Requests the President of the African Development Bank to continue the implementation of the African energy programme and to strengthen the organ which is responsible for energy matters.


                                                                                                                                          301st meeting,

                                                                                                                                             8 May 1996.