On April 27, Liu Zhenya, Chairman of Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization (GEIDCO) held talks with Raila Amolo Odinga, Former Prime Minister of the Republic of Kenya and African Union High Representative for Infrastructure Development. Both sides exchanged insightful opinions about and reached important consensus on the building of African Energy Interconnection and promotion of the green, low-carbon and sustainable development of Africa.
Liu Zhenya said that the establishment of Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) is an important initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the UN Sustainable Development Summit on September 26th 2015, which has received positive support from international organizations, relevant national governments and enterprises and institutions, including the United Nations (UN) and the AU. African Energy Interconnection is an important part of GEI and the key to Africa’s sustainable development. GEIDCO has proposed co-development of electricity, mining, metallurgy, manufacturing and trade and jointly initiated the establishment of the African Energy Interconnection and Sustainable Development Alliance (AEISDA) with the government of Guinea, with a view to leveraging the role of energy interconnection platforms to address fund shortage and limited access to markets, which are longstanding challenges of Africa’s infrastructure construction, turn resource advantages of Africa in clean energy and mineral resources into economic and development advantages and forge pillar industries and new economic growth engines. At the same time, he expressed wishes for strengthening bilateral pragmatic cooperation, jointly accelerating the implementation of key African Energy Interconnection projects and bringing benefits to the continent and its people.
Odinga mentioned that human beings are faced with many common challenges in the pursuit of sustainable development, so we must stick to the comprehensive use of energy and boost economic transformation and upgrading. The vast continent of Africa is comprised of many countries, which have abundant hydro, wind and solar energy with tremendous untapped potential. It is imperative of African countries to seize these rare development opportunities to speed up energy interconnection and support sustainable economic and social growth. He went on expressing hopes to work together with GEIDCO to advance the planning and research of cross-border and trans-regional interconnection projects, including the outbound downstream Congo River transmission project and accelerate the interconnection of five African Power Pools, to drive the expansion of Africa’s trade, increase of economic added value and building of modern industrial systems and bring tangible benefits to African people regarding their livelihood and living standards.
Building on a profound research on Africa’s energy endowment, and social and economic development conditions, GEIDCO has put forward the guiding principles of African Energy Interconnection. Specifically, it is assumed that Africa should expedite the development of large hydropower, solar power and wind power bases and all sorts of distributed electricity sources, accelerate cross-border and trans-regional grid interconnection within the continent, and promote power interconnection between Africa and Europe and Asia to form an overall pattern featuring “close intra-continental interconnection, efficient intercontinental interconnection and multi-energy mutual support”. It is estimated that African Energy Interconnection will attract up to USD 3.2 trillion, thus boosting clean energy development, mine exploitation and metallurgy and processing industries, transforming Africa’s energy advantages into economic edges and creating new growth engines for African economy.