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Chinese-proposed energy initiative promises clean, sustainable energy in Africa

Editor: zhangrui 丨Xinhua

05-12-2017 07:28 BJT

ADDIS ABABA, May 11 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese-proposed energy initiative dubbed Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) can inject a new momentum into the socio-economic development in Africa, according to the Chair of the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization.

Liu Zhenya, the chair, made the remarks during the 2017 World Hydropower Congress taking place from 9 to 11 May in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.

In 2015, China proposed the GEI initiative with a view of meeting the global power demands with clean and green alternatives.

During his presentation at the Congress in Addis Ababa, Liu underlined the need to work hand in hand for African energy interconnections with more communication and common consent, and make the due contribution to sustainable development.

The Chinese solution to global energy transition and connectivity has won widespread praise and positive response from the international community, he said.

"The GEI is an infrastructure platform on which clean energy can be developed, transmitted and used massively worldwide," he said.

Liu also noted that African Energy Interconnection is the key to energy transition and sustainable development in Africa.

He underlined that African sustainable energy development calls for expedited clean energy and African Energy Interconnection.

"The general approach is to effectively develop its rich and quality clean energy resources based on its resource endowment, build large-scale hydro, wind and solar power bases...and lose no time in the construction of backbone grids in all countries and the five large regional grids to promote intra-continental and cross-regional interconnection," he said.

Calling for concerted efforts from all African nations, Liu said his organization is willing to align pragmatic, win-win collaborations with all sides to shape up African Energy Interconnection based on equality and mutual benefits.

Speaking at the opening of the 2017 World Hydropower Congress, Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has called for global collaboration in finding solutions to reliable and sustainable energy development for transformation of African economies.

Africa's lack of power infrastructure, especially in sub-Saharan Africa, is hindering the region's economic and social development, according to the 2017 hydropower status report.

The report by the International Hydropower Association states that over 30 African countries are currently experiencing power shortages, resulting in outages and over-reliance on expensive and often environmentally unfriendly temporary solutions.

Despite huge resource potential, Africa's electric sector is underdeveloped, and more than 600 million people in Africa do not have access to electricity; and most households rely on traditional biomass for cooking.

Many argue that African energy development still faces difficulties and challenges despite abundant resources that could be tapped for development in the sector.

Currently, less than 10 percent of the hydropower potential in Africa is exploited, said Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Quartey Thomas Kwesi, during his opening remarks at the 2017 World Hydropower Congress.

He said the current global discussions and development frameworks have identified access to sustainable energy as a catalyst to promoting economic, social and human development.

The Chinese engagement in Africa's power and other infrastructures development is very effective in the context of the south-south cooperation, said an official at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

Soteri Gatera, Chief of Industrialization and Infrastructure Section at ECA, told Xinhua that the Chinese have the necessary experience and technology in carrying out international infrastructure projects.

They Chinese come with affordable technology and competitive price for international projects, coupled with facilitation of financial availability with the involvement of the Exim Bank of China to finance bigger projects, which make the Chinese companies more dominant than other companies, according to Gatera.

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