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Monica_55905 Jun 24

Innovation and Inclusivity: Main Themes of PAS & LAEF Opening Session

 Innovation and Inclusivity: Main Themes of PAS & LAEF Opening Session image
The joint Opening Session featured, for the first time, ministers from both Africa and Latin America, as well as key decision-makers from US Government Agencies, investors and stakeholders.
At the Powering Africa Summit and Latin America Energy Forum opening session, EnergyNet brought together, for the very first time, Ministers and high-level organisations from the two regions in one dynamic conversation. The Chairperson for the session was BBC’s Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet, who dug deep into economic policies and alliances, focusing on major infra-projects across both continents. 

There were two ‘I’s that pushed their way to the forefront of consideration – ‘innovation’ and ‘inclusivity’. These two themes set the tone for a forthcoming week of critical sessions exploring both regions’ energy outlooks, where all eyes will be on how these two ‘I’s are embedded into four overarching ambitions.

These are namely: climate change initiatives, and how carbon zero ambitions are actually being played out in national energy plans; how different countries can better cooperate to construct more conjoined regional initiatives; the need for public and private sectors to sing from the same hymn sheet to produce a more lucrative landscape for bankable energy projects; and finally, how all of these above strategies play out upon a backdrop of COVID recovery.

Addressing the climate change issue first, session attendees allowed themselves to get slightly wistful when looking ahead to the future. While, in a logistical sense, there are numerous commercial, matrix diversification and legacy infrastructure challenges to overcome, the actual results of a successful energy transition truly lend to a brighter future for people from all backgrounds.

H.E Honourable Stuart Young, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries in Trinidad & Tobago, muses that “it’s vital we find a solution, as we need to leave something positive behind for our children and our children’s children”. Power Africa Coordinator, Mark Carrato echoes that his children don’t question when they turn on a light or enter a health clinic, and that it’s vital that this privilege becomes universal as a result of this generation’s energy transition strategies.

To make renewable projects viable, bankable and attractive, the ability to leverage both the public and private sector is a strong opening wish under the banner of ‘cooperation’. But to compound that more logistical or administrative aspect, there also needs to be stronger geographical or regional alignment.

Alexia Latortue, Deputy CEO of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) surmised aptly: “It’s the end result that we all care about, and that’s why investment is needed across the full energy ecosystem. This means: financially viable sectors; sectors that are more attractive to private investors; more inclusive ecosystems, especially in terms of female representation in power institutions; and better access to power for businesses of all sizes, and people from all economic backgrounds.

“All of these are empowered by strong, international, regional or global partnerships and interconnections.”

To bring in a third and final ‘I’, intention is no longer an issue. And this intention to create a greener, cleaner and more secure energy future, must now be compounded by the means to enact change. As moderator and BBC Chief International Correspondent, Lyse Doucet, concluded; these changes may need to be “systemic, institutional, personal, cultural, political, geopolitical and technological”, but it’s clear that “a transition is definitely beginning”.

Some of our esteemed speakers will participate in our interactive Boardrooms during the Powering Africa Summit, and the Latin America Energy Forum, from Monday 28th June-Thursday 1st July.