Developing countries need energy to ensure access to clean water, clean cooking, education and healthcare and also create jobs and support local businesses. Access to sustainable and affordable energy services, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa, is limited and remains a critical challenge to economic growth and industrialisation in the continent. Investment in sustainable energy promotes inclusive growth and helps to limit climate change, which threatens development gains and disproportionately affects the poor. The EU and its Member States will address energy poverty by contributing towards universal access to energy services that are affordable, modern, reliable and sustainable, with a strong focus on renewable energy.
Renewable energy generation represents about 25% of global production, although it is growing in terms of share and investment. The scale of financial investment needed to bring universal access to sustainable energy services requires increased cooperation with all relevant parties, including the private sector, on energy demand management, energy efficiency, renewable energy generation and clean technology development and transfer. The EU and its Member States will also promote the phase-out of fossil-fuel subsidies and the establishment of stable and transparent energy markets while supporting the deployment of smart grids and the use of digital technologies for sustainable energy management.
The EU’s Energy Union will support Africa and its neighbourhood in this energy transition, partnering third countries in tackling climate change and the transition into a low-emission climate-resilient economy through strategic dialogue, sharing best practices and development cooperation. Strategic investment in sustainable energy will be used to support the improvement of regulatory frameworks enabling the development of a healthy energy sector and to leverage private finance. This strategy will help our partners meet the twin challenges of energy and climate change.
The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, a transformative and African-led initiative launched at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference, (COP21), will be critical, as it focuses on the twin challenges of universal sustainable energy access and climate change. It aims at harnessing Africa's abundant renewable energy resources to help African countries to support their development strategies and leapfrog towards low-carbon economic development. The European Commission will play an important role to achieve its ambitious objectives: At least 10GW of renewable energy capacity by 2020, and at least 300 GW by 2030.
ARE will be participating at several sustainable energy sessions.