Rwanda Sustainable Energy Forum Sets Agenda to Support Urban Development in East Africa

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Renewable energy, energy efficiency technologies and interventions will help address global challenges such as population growth, migration and urban development, East Africa Community (EAC) representatives have said.

Speaking at a recently-concluded event known as the Sustainable Energy Forum for East Africa, which was held in Kigali Rwanda, stakeholders called on the region’s governments, developers and policy makers to put more focus on renewable sources of energy.

At the event, Jesca Eriyo, EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Finance and Administration, stated that renewable energy should be deployed to help mitigate climate change, alleviate poverty, and address social, political, health, and gender inequalities.

“Let us double our efforts and keep the momentum high,” Eriyo said on behalf of the EAC, a regional intergovernmental organisation of six Partner States, including Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

The Sustainable Energy Forum for East Africa was organized by the East African Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (EACREEE) in collaboration with UNIDO, the EAC Secretariat, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), and the Ministry of Infrastructure of the Republic of Rwanda (MININFRA), and is hosted by the Government of Rwanda.

It was the first of a series of events that will take place in 2018 with the aim of increasing progress on Sustainable Development Goal 7, which focuses on the global effort to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

The affair brought together over 400 high-level representatives from government, business, civil society and international organizations to discuss how to increase access to sustainable energy in the region.

“There is need to work together with partners and identify key areas for development of the sustainable energy in the  region as part of our  efforts of  fulfilling the pledge made in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the associated Sustainable Development Goals,” said James Musoni, Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure, who also attended the event.

The Forum’s call to action comes at a time when East African countries constitute the least urbanized region in the world, according to a 2017 report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a group that works to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

However, the analysis also notes that the EAC will experience rapid urbanization, which could result in reduced poverty levels if there is social protection customized for and extended to poor people in urban areas.

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