5 October, 2023 Press release

Burundi’s Minister of Energy calls for collaboration to increase energy production at the Burundi Renewable Energy Access Days (BREAD 2023)

In his opening speech, H.E. Ibrahim Uwizeye, Minister of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines, called for greater collaboration to meet Burundi’s energy needs and vision.

Bujumbura, 5 October 2023 – The second edition of the Burundi Renewable Energy Access Days (BREAD), from 3-5 October 2023, in Bujumbura, marked an important step towards achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG-7) and universal access to electricity in Burundi.

Organised by GOGLA, the global association of the off-grid solar energy industry, the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), the European Union, the World Bank and the Burundi Renewable Energy Association (BUREA), with the support of GET.invest Burundi, funded by the European Union and part of the European GET.invest programme, the event brought together the brightest players in the renewable energy sector. The event was held under the patronage of the Government of Burundi, the Ministry of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines (MINHEM) and the Directorate General of Energy.

BREAD 2023 was officially opened by H.E. Ibrahim Uwizeye, Minister of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines of the Republic of Burundi, an event that welcomed over 200 international and local key players, industry experts, investors, financial partners and Burundian government representatives for hard-hitting discussions on renewable energy solutions for better energy access and climate resilience.

In his opening speech, Minister Ibrahim Uwizeyea called for greater collaboration to increase the country’s energy production, stressing that “Burundi needs a significant energy supply to exploit our mining resources, enable the operation of agricultural processing industries and fully exploit the services offered by information technologies. So, we invite our Department in charge of Energy to work hard in collaboration with development partners and the private sector to increase energy production and connect households across the country to meet the country’s vision.”

Through the “Vision Burundi 2040-2060”, Burundi aspires to be an emerging country by 2040 and a developed country by 2060.

The three-day event included panel discussions, interactive sessions, an exhibition and networking opportunities. On the first day, 10 local commercial and industrial (C&I) companies supported by GET.invest and looking for installers (engineering, procurement and construction; and energy service providers) had the opportunity to meet with interested companies to discuss photovoltaic projects together.

“Access to energy is a precondition for any inclusive and sustainable development, and it’s a great satisfaction to see that Burundi’s highest authorities are attaching particular importance to this sector, as the political will to make rapid progress is essential if we are to achieve the ambitious objectives of Vision 2040-2060. The reform of the legislative framework is an important step, and we are delighted that a new sectoral law, finalised after extensive consultation with all stakeholders, is now available and will facilitate the intervention of all players in the sector: administrations, the private sector, development partners and civil society. The role of the private sector is crucial, and every effort must be made to create a favourable environment for sustainable private investment in the energy sector. The European Union is strongly committed to supporting the authorities in the development of the sector to achieve universal and equitable access to energy,” declared Mrs. Elisabetta Pietrobon, Ambassador of the European Union to Burundi.

Patrick Tonui, Head of Policy and Regional Strategy at GOGLA, said: “GOGLA is very proud to have played a pivotal role in the organization of BREAD 2023. This event has been a powerful catalyst for bringing sustainable and accessible energy solutions to Burundi, aligning perfectly with our mission to drive the global off-grid solar energy industry. The Burundian government’s wholehearted embrace of this partnership recognised distributed energy solutions as an essential step in meeting its energy needs and improving the lives of its citizens. BREAD 2023 has showcased the incredible potential of renewable energy in Burundi, and created valuable partnerships and commitments to universal energy access. We believe this event will open the doors to countless opportunities for our members and stakeholders.”

David Lecoque, ARE CEO, confirms: “After this successful second edition of BREAD, we are convinced that Burundi, with its ambitious renewable energy targets, will further encourage many companies to develop locally and take part in the massive deployment of renewable energy solutions, as well as improving access to energy in rural areas. In this respect, ARE is delighted to see its members mobilised to contribute to the country’s efforts to provide universal access to energy.”

Alexandra Niez, GET.invest Burundi Country Coordinator, said: “For GET.invest, BREAD in Burundi come at the end of two years of dedicated work. During this time, GET.invest Burundi has supported local companies and project developers through its services, which will remain available even after the country window closes. We are pleased to have worked with the European Union delegation in Burundi and are grateful for their support in helping us unlock the potential of the country’s private sector.”