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Al Zeyoudi shares insights on impact of COVID-19 on Africa’s energy sector at high-level dialogue

  • UAE News
  • 22 May 2020
  • 12:00 AM

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, participated in the high-level dialogue jointly organised by the African Union Commission, AUC, and the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA. The virtual gathering examined the impact of COVID-19 on the energy sector in Africa. It convened government officials, development partners, and representatives of regional and multilateral institutions to discuss actions needed to advance the transformation of the energy system on the continent given the latest developments and national experiences in the face of the outbreak. Other distinguished speakers included Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, and Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy. Guided by Africa’s Agenda 2063, the participants explored the alignment of the pandemic response with sustainable development and climate objectives. Dr. Al Zeyoudi said, "The pandemic has negatively impacted people’s health, the economy, and the already fragile energy system, and the only viable response that can address all three aspects of disruption at the same time is harnessing the full power of renewable energy." He highlighted the UAE’s role in supporting the continent’s energy transition, with investments in over 25 existing and under-development renewables projects providing a combined capacity of 1 GW in 14 African countries. Dr. Al Zeyoudi concluded, "We are pleased to see the collaboration between AUC and IRENA, as together, they can pave the way to a more resilient energy system on the continent during the pandemic and long after the last patient has been cured." In her welcome speech, Dr Abou-Zeid said, "It is critically important that we use this momentum to attain the commitments on energy access and other targets by strengthening the African energy sector to attract investments, create jobs, and support socio-economic activities. The setback posed by COVID-19 should not dampen our efforts to realise the aspirations of the Agenda 2063 or the United Nations 2030 SDGs, and to continue the energy transition. This calls for a radical paradigm shift from business as usual, doubling of efforts, and greater collaboration." Francesco La Camera said, "Accelerating the energy transformation can help Africa respond to COVID-19 while allowing the continent to meet its medium- and long-term objectives of a decarbonised, just, and prosperous society. IRENA will continue to work closely with the AU and all partners to create pathways for accelerated renewable energy deployment in Africa to bolster resilience in the face of the current pandemic while building a future of health, wealth, and opportunity for millions of people across the continent."