Dubai, 22 October 2012

President Kagame today attended the third World Energy Forum hosted in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Held in line with the 2012 United Nations theme of “clean, safe and sustainable energy for all, the meeting began with the signing of the World Heads of the World Energy Day Proclamation establishing October 22 as a day to raise awareness about energy issues and stimulate political will to support sustainable energy.

With over 1.3 billion people yet to have access to electricity, this year’s theme is a call on world leaders to ensure equitable access to energy. In Africa, only a quarter of the population has access to electricity.

It is with an emphasis on the direct relationship between access to energy and socio-economic development that President Kagame began his address this morning. Along with attending Heads of States session, President Kagame called for the kind of global commitment that has made the Millenium Development Goals a success;

“It has become clear that when the world acknowledges that there is a problem and acts to resolve it, the outcome is impressive. We need to address imbalances of energy between developed and developing countries and raise level of consumption and utilization. The world community should treat access to energy as a basic right essential in the development process.”

President Kagame focused on practical solutions to address the energy shortage in Africa and Rwanda. His first proposal was the establishment of a globally accepted and respected consumption benchmark per capita;

“This would reduce waste, increase efficiency and cut costs enabling wide access to developing countries.”

Another practical solution was the need to establish a regulatory mechanism that can “curb or eliminate wasteful unsustainable consumption.

A common point among all speakers was the need to increase investment in innovative infrastructure that have the potential of closing the gap in energy access. In this field, Africa has shown increased growth with a current 30% of $257 billion invested in the energy sector in Africa. However, as growing need on the ground show, the potential has yet to match the reality.

Joining all the leaders, President Kagame emphasized the need for investment to focus on technologies- particularly those easily available locally that can lead to a more efficient use of energy.

Held for the first time outside the United Nations, this year’s World Energy Forum brought together over two thousands delegates from across the world including heads of states, members of civil society and private sector. Over the next two days, the delegates are expected to share lessons and continue the conversation on the need practical measures and innovations to meet the energy challenge currently experienced worldwide. The discussions planned include a renewed debate on nuclear energy, sharing on technological innovations, energy as an investment opportunity and the effect of climate change on energy policies.

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