AEEP Energy Talks Highlights the Importance of Bicontinental Partnerships Ahead of COP27
On 23 March, the Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) hosted the seventh instalment of the AEEP Energy Talks, offering panellists from Africa and Europe the opportunity to explored the outcomes of the recent EU-AU Summit and exchanged insights on their expectations for COP27.
During the sixth EU-AU Summit in Brussels, on 17 and 18 February 2022, European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) leaders emphasised a joint vision for a renewed partnership. The aims of the partnership are solidarity, security, peace and sustainable and sustained economic development and prosperity for the citizens of the two continents. The summit also closed with the announcement of the Africa-Europe Investment Package, as part of the Global Gateway, consisting of EUR 150 billion in support of a common sustainable development ambitions for 2030 and the AU Agenda 2063.
During the opening remarks of the AEEP Energy Talks – Tying the Green Energy Initiative to a Just and Equitable African Energy Transition, both Mr Moses Bayingana, Acting Director, Infrastructure and Energy, African Union Commission (AUC), and Mr Georgios Grapsas, Team Leader, DG INTPA F1, European Commission (EC), highlighted the significance of the bicontinental partnership, and the importance of having a platform – such as the one provided by the AEEP – for Africa and Europe to align ambitions as the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 27) in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, approaches. In his keynote speech, H.E. Raouf Saad, Ambassador for Egypt, added that the conference is an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen the partnership between Africa and Europe, and he explicitly requested the AEEP’s assistance for the culmination of the COP27.
Data and modelling can support the energy transition
The panel went on to discuss the importance of maintaining a high momentum and strong focus on climate goals to ensure that COP27 delivers results to Africa and the rest of the world. The panel of experts emphasised the different strategies each party is undertaking to accelerate a just and equitable energy transition in Africa. Mr Glenn Pearce-Oroz, Director of International Relations, SEforALL, drew attention to how SEforALL is bringing together different parties to start the dialogue on what targets African countries should arrive with at the COP27, and the importance of a data-driven transition to support those targets. To that, Mr Dimitris Papastefanakis, Team Lead, EU Technical Assistance Facility (EU TAF), elaborated on the EU TAF’s success of implementing the same modelling tools across all African regional institutions, and how this enables the planning of African energy scenarios ahead of COP27.
Ambassador Saad also spoke about Egypt’s preparations for COP27, and how the country is currently working on a package of initiatives to promote the penetration and use of renewable energy solutions globally. Ms Oluwadabira Abiola-Awe, Ventures & Capital Campaign Associate, Student Energy, highlighted the young generation’s importance regarding sustainability and climate issues, and Student Energy’s role as one of the largest youth organisations working with young people towards the green transition.
Towards a successful COP27
Finally, the panellists summarised what a successful COP27 would look like. Pearce-Oroz and Papastefanakis agreed that efforts must be centred around making sure African countries arrive at the negotiations with specifically identified plans and recommendations based on reliable data. Abiola-Awe added that a successful COP27 would result in a clear roadmap of strategies, policies and technology put in place to support both continents’ ambitions. Additionally, Ambassador Saad remarked that the Conference of Parties should focuse on adaptation and implementation, not just for Africa, but for the world. To this effect, special attention has to be paid to including the private sector as a crucial part of the energy transition, only then can the Continental Power System Master Plan (CMP) be accelerated.