AU stresses role of infrastructure, energy in economic growth
The African Union (AU) has been endeavoring to ensure robust, resilient and long-lasting economic transformation of Africa through promotion of infrastructure and energy development on the continent, noted Elham Mahmood Ibrahim, AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy.
Speaking at a press conference Friday ahead of the 28th AU leaders' summit here, the commissioner said the pan-African bloc has scored achievements in its flagship projects and programs on the development of energy, transport as well as in the information and communication technology (ICT) areas, which she said are the biggest priorities in Africa's infrastructure sector.
In cooperation and coordination with its regional, continental, and international partners, AU has been committed to development of infrastructure on the continent, which facilitates trade, economic cooperation, and regional integration among its member states, said the commissioner.
Geothermal risk mitigation facility (GRMF), which has been supporting East African countries to develop geothermal energy, is one of the programs that has registered fruitful results, according to Elham.
Launched in 2012, GRMF provides grants to both public and private developers for surface studies and drilling projects, she said.
She also noted that there are currently about 28 projects in the pipeline with grants awarded totaling about 58 million U.S. dollars.
"We are also in the process of setting up a Center for Excellence in Geothermal Energy in order to build and improve the technical capacity of our member states in geothermal energy development," said the commissioner.
She further noted that AU, in collaboration with partners, has already achieved significant milestones in promoting bio-energy development in Africa.
AU has also been working on a program dubbed Harmonized Regulatory Frameworks for the Electricity Markets in Africa, which has a goal of ensuring modern energy access to all Africans in light of Agenda 2063.
The program has been developed to facilitate the creation of an African energy market, enhance participation of the private sector in energy sector and mobilize the huge financial and technical resources to achieve the desired goal, according to AU.
Elham also stated that AU launched the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) in December 2015, which aims to harness the continent's huge renewable energy potential for universal energy access and sustainable development on the continent.