Photograph — Thisdaylive

Italian multinational energy company, Eni S.p.A and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are collaborating to boost access to sustainable energy in Africa. This agreement was signed on September 24, 2018, by Eni CEO, Claudio Descalzi and UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner during an official ceremony on the sidelines of the 73rd General Assembly.

This comes after the launch of the centre for climate and sustainable development which took place in September 2017. It was unveiled in Rome under the joint auspices of the Italian Ministry of Environment and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to facilitate sustainable development in Africa.

“Improving access to energy, especially in Africa, is core to our values, and it is now an intrinsic part of our business. We invest more than half of our budget in Africa, boosting the domestic potential and promoting local development. Today’s MoU – a first for the energy sector – underscores the credibility of our efforts and the soundness of our business model,” said Descalzi.

“In 2017, Eni delivered 56 billion cubic meters of gas to domestic markets in 14 countries in Africa. To date, it has invested a total of approximately $2 billion in sub-Saharan Africa in the construction and restoration of networks and power plants, supplying electricity to over 18 million people. We are now launching new investments in renewable energy across the continent,” he added.

As part of the agreement, Eni will develop business ventures to increase access to clean energy in the region. UNDP, on the other hand, will use its extensive development network in over 170 countries to foster an enabling environment to implement the partnership and assess its sustainable impact in local communities.

Nigeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Angola, Tanzania, Cote d’Ivoire, Mozambique, Gabon and Congo are going to be the first set of countries to benefit from the deal.

Eni projects will include electricity production from photovoltaic (PV) plants (including floating systems), wind farms, off-grid hybrid solutions, reforestation and clean cooking solutions. UNDP will work to raise awareness for clean energy and sustainable business models, and provide training and capacity building in recipient communities.

Steiner explained that UNDP will work to ensure the success of the partnership in accelerating access to sustainable energy sources. “The private sector is a strategic partner that can help realize our vision for inclusive development, as outlined in Agenda 2030 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” he said. “UNDP and Eni’s combined expertise, ability to innovate, and on-the-ground networks can enable better access to sustainable energy sources in Africa”.

“This partnership demonstrates how we can work together to achieve the Goals, specifically on SDG 17 on partnerships, 13 for climate, 12 for sustainable consumption and production, and above all SDG 7 on affordable and clean energy,” he added.

With rapid urbanization and economic growth, Africa’s energy demands are set to rise. The 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), specifically SDG 7, calls for universal access to aff­ordable, reliable, and modern energy services, including clean fuels and technologies.

This deal aligns with Nigeria’s Renewable Energy Master Plan (REMP) which was produced in 2006 with support from the UNDP. It is a policy being implemented by the federal government of Nigeria through its Ministry of Environment that aims to increase the contribution of renewable energy to account for 10 percent of Nigeria’s total energy consumption by 2025.

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