The United Nations Conference on Trade And Development (UNCTAD) has made a renewed call for investment in renewable energy, this time targeting the world’s least developed countries (LDCs).
Forty seven countries, most of which are in Africa, are currently designated by the United Nations as LDCs.
They include Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, the Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, the Niger, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Sudan, the Sudan, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zambia.
Every three years, the list of LDCs is reviewed by the Committee for Development Policy (CDP), a group of independent experts reporting to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).
The CDP, in its report to ECOSOC, may recommend countries for addition to, or graduation from, the list of LDCs.
Citing the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, UNCTAD Secretary-General Dr. Mukhisa Kituyi stated that providing off-grid energy solutions, particularly in rural areas, will help bolster economic development.
“Unlike the Millennium Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes an explicit goal for energy – Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7, to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable andmodern energy for all,” Dr. Kituyi explained.
He stated that access to modern energy plays a major role in economic structural transformation, terming it a critical issue both for the least developed countries and for the 2030 Agenda, an initiative that has put in place development targets that are due within the next 13 years.
Kituyi was speaking in regard to the latest edition of an UNCTAD report that advocated for sustainable energy solutions in rural areas. The research, dubbed the UNCTAD Least Developed Countries Report, focuses on transformational energy access for the LDCs.
It notes that on average, 62% of people in these nations have no access to electricity, compared with 10% across other developing countries. The analysis found that technological advances in renewable-energy and storage technologies have stimulated renewed interest in off-grid systems. It discovered that Africa, in particular, presents opportunities for companies and entrepreneurs working in the field of renewable energy.
“The LDCs are the battleground on which the 2030 Agenda will be won or lost. The central role of access tomodern energy in achieving the other SDGs means that meeting SDG 7 will be central to the success or failure ofthe 2030 Agenda as a whole,” said Dr. Kituyi.