African Energy Interconnection Development Forum Held in Beijing

On 4 September 2018, the African Energy Interconnection Development Forum was successfully held in Beijing. As one of the important activities of 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), this event is jointly organized by Global Energy Interconnection Development Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO), the African Union Commission (AUC) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). During the event, GEIDCO releases the report on the African Energy Interconnection Planning, key stakeholders from Africa and China meet and discuss development and financing of power projects in Africa, and several cooperation agreements are signed. GEIDCO and the Republic of Guinea jointly initiated the establishment of the African Energy Interconnection Sustainable Development Alliance (AEISDA), which will provide new impetus for sustainable development, urbaniztion and industrialization in Africa.

As an important milestone in the development of African Energy Interconnection, the Forum bears great significance in promoting pragmatic cooperation, government-private partnership, and joint action in implementing GEI Initiative in Africa. In addition, it will help further deep China-Africa energy cooperation and facilitate sustainable development for African countries, thus winning strong support from African governments, institutions and companies.

400 important guests and representatives attended the Forum, including relevant international and regional organizations and institutions.

On 26 September, 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed a major initiative to develop Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) at the United Nations Development Summit. Aimed at promoting world energy transition, addressing climate change issues and achieving sustainable development, this initiative has won high acclaim and extensive support. As an important part of GEI, the development of African Energy Interconnection provides a carrier and an opportunity for deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership and building a closer community of shared destiny between China and Africa.

Liu Zhenya, Chairman of the GEIDCO, pointed out at the Forum that the core of sustainable development is clean development, and the key is to build a Global Energy Interconnection to achieve clean energy replacement and electric replacement. In recent years, Africa’s economic and social development has entered a new stage characterized by industrialization, urbanization and regional integration, facing both precious opportunities and major challenges. To address the problem of sustainable development in Africa, it is crucial to take energy as the core issue, give full play to the advantage of Africa’s rich resources, promote resource development through clean development, promote economic transition through energy transition, promote regional integration through interconnection, and put more efforts in building an African Energy Interconnection.

Liu Zhenya said that the building of the African Energy Interconnection provides a strategic solution and an actionable roadmap for accelerating the sustainable development in Africa from the strategic, planning, economic, and technological perspective. It will solve the long-term constraints holding back the large-scale development and utilization of African energy, promote the coordinated development and utilization of clean energy resources and mineral resources in Africa, which will bring great opportunities for the development of African countries and China-Africa cooperation.

At the Forum, GEIDCO and the Republic of Guinea jointly initiated the African Energy Interconnection Sustainable Development Alliance (AEISDA), which offers a cooperation platform for mutual consultation, joint development, mutual sharing and win-win cooperation. The objective of AEISDA is to accelerate the building of African Energy Interconnection, promote clean energy development, industrialization, electrification and economic integration in Africa, so as to promote energy transition and coordinated development in economy, society and environment in Africa,and ultimately, share development results and achieve common prosperity.

Based on in-depth analysis of Africa’s economies, societies, energy resources, power supply and demand, the GEIDCO compiled and launched the world’s first report on African Energy Interconnection Planning Research. The report analyzes the opportunities and challenges of sustainable development in Africa, and puts forward the overall idea of building an African Energy Interconnection, providing a package of solutions for the development of clean energy bases in Africa, grid interconnection and cross-regional and inter-continental key interconnection projects, and comprehensively drawing up a blueprint for sustainable development of clean energy in Africa.

The plan proposes that the development of the African Energy Interconnection should follow four priorities: First, vigorously developing clean energy, and build a number of large-scale clean energy bases with the focus on the hydropower projects on the Congo River, the Nile River, the Niger River, the Zambezi River, and solar power generation and wind power in northern, eastern and southern Africa.Second, speeding up grid development and interconnection; Country-wise, to accelerate the upgrade of backbone network and the development of distribution network to improve power supply capacity, reliability and intelligence level; continental-wise,to accelerate the connectivity of power grids in various countries, so as to form a synchronous grid covering three regions, namely, the north, central and southeast of Africa, and realize cross-regional interconnection through UHV transmission; intercontinental-wise, to actively advance the construction of the Africa-Europe and the Africa-West Asia power interconnection project, with a total transmission capacity of 50GW, so as to achieve an optimized allocation of clean energy in a wider region.Third, promoting the coordinated development of electricity, mineral and metallurgy so as to provide sufficient and reliable power for the large-scale development and smelting of mineral resources in Africa.Fourth, raising the level of electrification,to replace fossil energy and primary biomass energy with clean energy, and focus on supplying power to power-deficient population and making electricity price affordable.

At the Forum, the GEIDCO signed four cooperation agreements respectively with the UNECA, the APUA, the Eastern Africa Power Pool and the West Africa Power Pool, promising to deepen cooperation, information and experience sharing in planning, research, technological exchange and project promotion, so as to jointly promote the development of clean energy and grid interconnection projects, address common concerns on energy supply, environmental pollution and sustainable development issues, and advance innovative development of African Energy Interconnection.

The Forum provides a great venue for deepening the synergy and cooperation between China and Africa in the field of energy and power, and driving the upgrade of energy and power industries in relevant African countries.

The GEIDCO was established in Beijing in March 2016. At present, the number of its members has reached 503, covering 80 countries and regions on five continents. The organization has become an international cooperation platform for mutual consultation, joint development, mutual sharing and win-win cooperation. The development of GEI has been incorporated in the Belt and Road Initiative, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Ninth Clean Energy Ministerial and the outcome of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum.