The agreements were signed by Minister of International Development Heikki Holmås and ministers from the three countries concerned at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro last week. The objective is to make more clean and efficient energy available, in line with one of the main themes of the conference. More energy needs to be provided to promote development in poor countries, but producing and using energy often causes substantial emissions of greenhouse gases.
“The cooperation with Ethiopia, Kenya and Liberia will give ordinary people new development opportunities and help to improve public health. At the same time we can avoid increased emissions of greenhouse gases,” said Minister of International Development Heikki Holmås.
The agreements make available NOK 500 million to Ethiopia, NOK 250 million to Kenya and NOK 100 million to Liberia over the next five years. This is performance-based financing, which means that most of the money will be disbursed in step with results achieved, such as providing more people with access to energy and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Norway is also using aid funds to facilitate private-sector investments.
The cooperation with Ethiopia will encompass energy, forests and agriculture, with the main focus to begin with on projects in rural communities. In Kenya paraffin lamps are to be replaced by lighting from solar power or other forms of renewable energy. In addition, millions of new cooking stoves will improve air quality and energy efficiency in people’s homes. Liberia is building up its energy sector after the civil war. Norway will help to get the damaged hydropower station Mount Coffee running again. The power station will provide 64 megawatts of green electricity when the work is completed. That is enough to supply the whole capital, Monrovia.
“Diesel and oil are expensive and they are not very climate-friendly. Giving priority to renewable energy sources and to greater energy efficiency in these countries will help to ensure a reliable and secure supply of energy, more jobs, better health, greater business opportunities and increased economic growth,” Mr Holmås said.
Norway’s Energy+ initiative was launched by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in October last year. It has over 40 international partners. The Energy+ initiative builds on Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative.
The following countries and organisations are partners in the Energy+ initiative:
· Developing countries: Kenya, Bhutan, Liberia, Ethiopia, the Maldives, Senegal, Morocco, Tanzania, Nepal, Mali, Grenada and Mozambique.
· Developed countries: The UK, France, Denmark, Switzerland, the Netherlands, South Korea, Iceland and Norway.