Statement by UN Resident Coordinator at the Launch of the Least Developed Countries Report 2017

Statement by

 

Alvaro Rodriguez,

Resident Coordinator,

United Nations System in Tanzania,

 

 

At the Launch of the

Least Developed Countries Report 2017

 

‘Transformational Energy Access'

 

 

 

24 November 2017,

UN Compound Conference Room

Dar es Salaam

 

 

 

 

Excellences, Ambassadors, High Commissioners,

Honourable Government Representatives,

Heads of Development Cooperation,

Private Sector representatives

Civil Society representatives,

Members of the Media,

Dear UN Colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Habari za Asubuhi!

 

·        It is a great pleasure and honor to have you all here to understand the 2017 Least Developed Countries Report, which was launched globally on 22nd November 2017. You are all welcome!

·        The Least Developed Countries (LDC) Reports, which are prepared annually by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) provides a comprehensive source of socio-economic analysis and data on the world´s most impoverished countries.

 

 

 

The Report:

·        This year’s edition of UNCTAD’s Least Developed Countries Report focuses on transformational energy access for the Least Developed Countries.The Report looks at how the world's 47 least developed nations, including Tanzania, can expand access to adequate, reliable and affordable sources of modern energy to escape the poverty trap.

·        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 and modern energy for all”. Access to modern energy plays a major role in economic structural transformation — a critical issue both for the least developed countries (LDCs) and for the 2030 Agenda more generally.

·        In translating the SDG 7 into action, the Least Developed CountriesReport 2017 finds that “energy for all” in LDCs requires more than access to energy for basic household needs. Access to energy in LDCs also serves productive capacities directly, by powering the structural transformation of LDC economies and the development of more productive, modern activities and sectors with adequate and reliable energy supplies.

 

The rationale of producing this report now:

·        Why are we talking about transformational energy access now?Let’s see some highlights in the energy sector:

o   In the least developed countries, 577 million people, or 62 per cent of the population, do not have access to electricity.(In Tanzania 22 per cent of households were connected to electricity in 2015)[1]

o   In the least developed countries, 82 per cent of people living in rural areas do not have access to electricity.

o   On average, firms in the least developed countries suffer 10 power outages per month, each lasting around five hours, and this costs 7 per cent of the value of total sales.

o   It is estimated that attaining universal energy access by 2030 will require 571 million more people in the least developed countries to be connected to grids and 341 million more people to be connected to mini-grids; 114 million more people will require stand-alone systems.

 

What is the way out?

·        The good news is that the situation on access to electricity is now changing. Rapid technological progress in renewable energy technologies, and associated cost reductions, are opening up an unprecedented opportunity for electrification of rural areas through decentralized generation and mini-grids.

·        Accessible, affordable and reliable electricity supplies can make a major contribution to all economic sectors.E.g. agriculture, industrial and manufacturing sectors. Importantly, the role of energy in promoting structural transformation has a notable gender dimension.  

·        The availability of modern energy, at both the household and the community level, can significantly reduce the time spent on domestic activities, including fuelwood collection and such time savings are likely to benefit women disproportionately. However, such savings are not automatically translated into increased productive activity, or therefore into women’s economic empowerment. This depends in large measure on the creation of new productive opportunities that are accessible to women, and on targeted policies to address the constraints women face in economic activities.

 

Recommendations:

·        I would like to end by noting that, it is high time for governments in the Least Developed Countries, including Tanzania, to make serious efforts to achieve transformational energy access by 2030.  Based on the Report the following are the recommendations:

1.     Strengthen Least Developed Countries electricity systems:by promoting system- wide energy planning, flexibility and policy coordination; Scaling -up supply and strategically diversify the generation mix; Extending and upgrading the grid; and promote closer integration of regional energy markets.

2.     Build effective electricity Governance and Finance system:This includes building effective governance frameworks for the electricity sector; balancing affordability and cost-reflectiveness; and greater mobilisation of domestic sources of finance. In Tanzania, this is being evidenced in the support provided to rural electrification through Rural Energy Agency.

3.     Harness the energy-transformation nexus:by integration of energy policies and structural transformation strategies; leveraging technological options toward rural electrification and development; complementary policies for structural transformation and productive energy use; harnessing science, technology and innovation policies for transformational energy access.

4.     Scale-up the International dimension: Enhancing the impact of foreign direct investment; leveraging debt without compromising sustainability;and scaling up theOfficial development assistance and climate finance.Estimates presented in this report suggest the total investment cost for basic universal access by 2030 to be in the order of $12-$40 billion per year across LDCs as a whole.

 

All of the recommendations are achievable, what is required is political will and commitment of stakeholders.

 

Asanteni Sana!



[1]TDHS-MIS 2015-16, pg33