Dr Sileshi takes part in UK-Africa Renewable Energy Ministerial Symposium

8 Dec 2020

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) on 3rd December 2020, hosted the first-ever UK-Africa Renewable Energy Ministerial Symposium to deepen UK-Africa collaboration in the renewable energy sector.

Bringing together British and African leaders, the symposium created a platform to exchange best practices, align objectives, and explore bilateral opportunities in the renewable energy industry.

The virtual symposium brought together several energy ministers, international energy companies, investors, and financiers across Africa along with the UK Minister for Exports Graham Stuart MP.  Ethiopia’s Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Dr. Sileshi Bekele, took part.

Attended by over 300 participants across Africa, with attendees hailing from regulatory bodies, key private sector players, and UK companies, the event was received as a great opportunity for collaboration and exploration of the larger opportunities in the sector.

Her Majesty’s Deputy Trade Commissioner for Africa, Alastair Long, opened the event and laid out the agenda which included a country prospect overview from Ministers across Africa, three panel discussions and two presentations.

Giving an opening remark at the symposium, the UK Minister for Exports Graham Stuart welcomed all the participants and highlighted the UK’s collaboration with Africa in the renewable energy industry.

While addressing the ministerial panel, Dr. Sileshi Bekele highlighted Ethiopia’s renewable energy potential and projects that are currently under construction to be completed within five years.

The Minister said that the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Koysha Hydroelectric Dam have the combined capacity to generate 10,000MW electric power upon completion.

The minister also explained that Ethiopia will increase its power generation capacity to 20,000MW in the coming 10 years.

60% of Ethiopia’s population currently have no access to energy. This has created major bottlenecks for sustainable development and growth within the country, the Minister said.

The National Electrification Program of Ethiopia plans to incorporate both grid and off-grid solutions to provide equitable access to all citizens by 2025, Dr. Sileshi said, adding that it was of paramount importance to have partners like the UK to bridge the financing and technology gaps experienced within the sector.

The reforms underway in the energy sector aim at providing a conducive environment for private sector involvement in the energy sector, especially in power generation, Dr. Sileshi concluded.

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