African Energy Ministers Conference Adopts Johannesburg Declaration

African Union (AU)16 September 2011: African Energy Ministers convened for a two-day conference titled “Road to Durban: Promoting Sustainable Energy Access in Africa,” to develop and agree on priorities for sustainably developing Africa's energy sector. Concluding with the adoption of the Johannesburg Declaration, the Ministers lamented that climate change threatens to reverse the developmental gains that have been achieved in recent years.

Working towards improving integrated energy planning and ensuring the design and development of sound energy projects, the Energy Ministers highlighted a number of priority areas, including: expanding access to modern, clean sources of energy; scaling up regional power supply; reducing climate change vulnerability and increasing resilience; and promoting the development of integrated national energy plans that are linked to regional power pools.

Finance and lack of capacity was emphasized as major constraints to the development and implementation of projects, with Ministers calling for the UN Climate Change Conference, to be held in Durban, South Africa, at the end of 2011, to consider placing US$500 million aside as a source of finance for large-scale infrastructure projects. Ministers also called for increased technology and innovation capacity, closer cooperation on energy planning, and the development of regional trade and energy resources.

The African Energy Ministers Conference took place from 15-16 September 2011, in Johannesburg, South Africa.  The event was hosted by the South African Department of Energy and the African Union (AU), bringing together over 30 African Ministers, as well as representatives of, inter alia: the incoming EU Presidency; Norway; Denmark; the World Bank; the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO); UN-Energy; the UN Foundation; and the African Development Bank (AfDB). [Johannesburg Declaration] [UNIDO Press Release] [South African Government Press Release]