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Climate Finance a “Fundamental Issue of Trust” – Commonwealth Secretary-General

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The Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has called for developed countries to finally honour the decade-long pledge to make $100 billion available each year to fight climate change in developing countries.

During a high level joint event co-organised with the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) on 1 November in Glasgow at the UN Climate Change Conference COP26, the Secretary-General descried the funding as “both to deliver the intended impact on the ground, but also as a fundamental issue of trust.”

She said: “Promises should be kept… Commonwealth diplomacy is about taking our collective determination – and the experiences that leaders, ministers and citizens from across the Commonwealth share with us – into the heart of global climate negotiations.”

The event featured a keynote address by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, as chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, as well as statements from a prominent line up of leaders across the Commonwealth, including the President of Guyana Irfaan Ali, the President of Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the Prime Minister of Eswatini Cleopas Dlamini and other ministerial delegates and envoys.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stated: “The 48 members of the CVF account for only 5 per cent of the total global emission. However, the adverse impacts of climate change have posed fundamental threats to our lives and livelihoods.

“Our vulnerability and necessity for adequate climate finance and technology transfer must be recognised by the international community. The major emitting countries need to fulfil their obligations to support us in our efforts to cope with the effects of climate change.”

Both CVF and the Commonwealth expressed their solidarity in support of strengthening climate financing for resilience and prosperity. The event also supported knowledge-sharing and capacity-building collaboration between the two groups of countries.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina added: “The Commonwealth countries have a long history of commitment and contributions in addressing the challenges of the climate change. With more than one-third of CVF member states being also the members of the Commonwealth, I firmly believe that the joint efforts of the CVF and the Commonwealth Members can act as a catalyst for implementation of the Paris Agreement.”

The CVF is a diverse partnership of 48 of the world’s most climatically-vulnerable countries from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific. They represent 1.2 billion people, but contribute only 5 per cent of total global emissions. A third of the CVF countries are from the Commonwealth, including the majority of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and low lying littoral countries such as Bangladesh.

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South Korea to Contribute $12.3 Million Towards the Construction of Solar Mini-Grid in Nigeria

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The South Korean Government announced that it will contribute $12.4 Million towards the construction of solar mini-grids in Nigeria.

  The Ambassador of South Korea to Nigeria, Mr. Kim Young-Chae disclosed this on Monday the 6th in Abuja at the Stand-alone mini-grid project presentation ceremony organized by the Korea Institute for Advancement of Technology (KIAT), in collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Energy, ILJIN Electrical, S/D Powernics and Korea Polytechnic.

The Ambassador’s full statement was “The project to be implemented by KIAT was designed to meet rising energy demands of rural communities, by constructing solar power generation systems, in cooperation with the Nigerian Government. It involves the construction of mini-grids in non-electrified rural communities near Abuja, to ensure a stable supply of power, installation of transmission and distribution lines, supply of electric equipment and systems and training for the operation and maintenance of mini-grids The project began as a framework agreement signed by South Korea and Nigeria, and laid the foundation for technological support and related policies.

Ita Enang, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta also present at the event, made the following comments “For this demonstration, it is good it is in the Federal Capital Territory, but it will be better to extend it to other areas so that you will get wider buy-in. I will suggest we go to areas like Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Akwa Ibom and Kano which have a high population density.”

Project Manager, Mr Kim Dohyoung said the project will begin with project designing in April 2022 and extend until December 2024 and it will be delivered in partnership with the necessary government agencies and local businesses. He stressed that the project will boost standard solutions in the power sector, provide environmentally friendly and sustainable energy development, and help to eradicate poverty in the country.

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Sunna Design Wins A €40 Million Contract to Deploy Solar Street Lighting in Rural Togo

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 Sunna Design, leader in connected solar lighting solutions, has signed a 40 million euro contract with the Government of Togo for the supply and installation over 24 months, and then maintenance over 12 years, of 50,000 intelligent street lamps. This contract, funded by the General Directorate of the French Treasury, is part of the larger project CIZO (“switch on the light” in mina language), which aims at electrifying 500,000 rural households, about 1.5 million inhabitants in 1,000 villages.

A pillar of Togo’s NDP (National Development Plan) deployed by the Togolese presidency, CIZO aims to speed up the modernization of the country, including ensuring universal access to electricity by 2030.

Connected lighting, a key step for rural development

Public lighting grids have an impact on rural communities’ life conditions and strengthening of the economy, by facilitating passenger and goods transport, pedestrian traffic, night work, as well as drastically reducing road accident rates and insecurity.

Solar street lights are autonomous and resilient energy sources, and the only relevant technical-economic solution to bring appropriate public lighting and connection services to off-grid areas. In Togo – where only 8% of the 8.3 million residents are connected to the grid – access to energy is a key factor for economical development. The challenge is also to promote geographical balance, in response to an unbridled urbanization phenomenon in Sub-Saharan Africa, through a planned deployment of sustainable, decentralized and smart infrastructures.

Mila Aziable, Minister Delegate to the President for Energy and Mines, says: “This partnership is the result of a shared ambition and is right in line with the Head of State’s will to achieve accessibility for all in terms of energy. We want to give a new dynamic to rural areas, make them more attractive through our contribution in all priority sectors and those of the local economy, while betting on innovative technologies adapted to our context, our time and our environment. This partnership clearly projects our country in a new dynamic, in the direction of a universal access to energy.”

Franck Riester, Minister Delegate attached to the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, in charge of Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness: “We are proud to support Sunna Design’s sustainable public lighting project in Togo, for the benefit of more than 1.5 million inhabitants in rural areas. Under the initiative of the President of the Republic, we made Africa a priority of our international action. Central to our strategy is the will to accompany the development of infrastructures and technologies in a sustainable city. In these fields, our SMEs such as Sunna Design have an internationally recognized expertise. It is together, with our African partners, with the support of the private sector, that we must accompany the continent’s economic development.”

“The trust granted by the Togo Government – a visionary, pioneer and highly demanding partner in the fields of electrification and digitization in rural environment – acknowledges the solidity of Sunna Design’s know-how, as well as our capacity to innovate and accompany our clients over time” says Ignace de Prest, Sunna Design CEO. “That also represents a new step in our company’s transformation, now an essential partner for both urban and rural applications. The impact of the project on populations strengthens the teams’ commitment and our company’s project.” 

A sustainable technological solution with a 12-year guarantee

Consisting of 50,000 connected street lights, Sunna Design’s project notably plans for:

  • Solar lighting roll out in priority areas, identified and investigated beforehand via an unprecedented census study of rural infrastructures, ensuring a measurable economic and social impact of each lighting point on people
  • The use of iSSL+ solutions, all-in-one connected street lights with batteries designed to resist high temperatures, produced by Sunna Design at its “Factory of the Future” labeled industrial site, in the Bordeaux region
  • Operation and maintenance services during 12 years, including participation and strengthening of an ecosystem of local operators, promoting local employment
  • Provision of a transparent platform for monitoring implementation and detailed performance of the solar solutions, accessible to public authorities, private and financial partners

The Togolese Agency for Rural Electrification and Renewable Energies (AT2ER), promoter of the project, was able to validate Sunna Design’s technical lead, robust equipment and track record in Sub-Saharan Africa rural areas, and finalize a unique project including performance and guarantee commitments over time.

Solar lighting related (connected) services

Sunna Design’s know-how extends beyond lighting: its solutions can integrate an ecosystem of IoT applications (connected objects), powered by the clean energy provided by Sunna Design’s intelligent solar batteries.

Autonomous and connected, these applications answer several needs in terms of connectivity, telecommunications and safety. They represent a development focus of the digital economy, another pillar of Togo’s NDP.

This innovative application has already been successfully implemented and tested by Sunna Design in Togo, in the frame of a pilot project operational since 2020, financed by the FASEP fund of the General Directorate of the Treasury. This project will allow the continuation of these experiments in some targeted areas, as well as skill improvement on the “WiFi Grid”, to offer Internet access to villages through the solar street lamps.

“This project will combine decentralized energy and broadband connectivity to provide both public lighting and Internet access to the populations. Thus, it complements our vision towards accelerating the convergence between energy and digital technology, which we will initiate by deploying optical fiber on the electric network” says Cina Lawson, Togolese Minister of Digital Economy and Technological Innovation.

A turnkey project with financing at the heart of Sunna Design’s strategy

This exemplary contract is at the core of Sunna Design’s strategy, aiming at bringing answers to its customers’ long-term issues, in the form of services. Three years after being the first company to offer Solar Lighting as a Service (SLaaS) in the United States, Sunna Design replicates the offer in Africa, and works to replicate it again. This project, carried out in Togo and financed by a direct loan from the General Directorate of the Treasury, proves that the company now has the most advanced range of technical solutions on the market, as well as the most comprehensive portfolio of services (installation, maintenance, operations, financing). This contract also marks the achievement, on a large-scale project, of the vision of solar lighting as a lever of economic and social development in rural environments, inspired by Thomas Samuel, Sunna Design’s founder, who also developed the project.

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Developing African Petroleum Value Chains

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Despite the global shift towards cleaner sources of fuel, the African continent – representing the highest number of people without access to energy globally – still requires fossil fuel development, if it is to meet its developmental goals. Accordingly, oil and gas-producing nations across the continent are ramping up efforts to develop a sustainable, viable and high reward petroleum sector in Africa.

Speaking at an African energy producers’ forum at African Energy Week (AEW) 2021, African oil and gas ministers provided insight into Africa’s oil potential, strategies to expand the energy value chain and opportunities for regional and international cooperation.

Opening the African energy producers’ talk, Irene Etiobhio, Senior Petroleum Industry Analyst at the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), emphasized the role of oil in Africa’s energy future. Presenting OPEC’s World Oil Outlook 2021, launched earlier this year, Etiobhio offered key insights into both Africa’s and the world’s oil outlook.

“The OPEC outlook provides an in-depth view and analysis of global oil issues. It is important to restate that the outlook is not about projections, but should be viewed as a helpful and insightful guide. Our data is based on key assumptions,” stated Etiobhio.

Alongside the presentation, African energy ministers elaborated on the role of oil in Africa. Panel participants included H.E Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons of Equatorial Guinea and Hon. Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam, Deputy Minister of Energy of Ghana.

Africa’s oil and gas industry is facing a dual challenge: to satisfy growing demand for petroleum products and to outpace the deployment of alternative, non-fossil sources of energy. Taking these two challenges into consideration, the panel participants provided insight into how the sector, and oil and gas companies in particular, plan to increase production while decarbonizing industry activities.

“Oil will play a significant role in the African energy mix and will take the highest share over all forms in the future mix. However, with the demand of over 600 million without access to electricity, Africa must do this in a modern way. We must not solve one problem while creating another. Africa needs to also take care of the environment,” continued Etiobhio. “We must have a clear mandate and one voice on how we are going to meet our emissions targets. China has said that by 2060, it will achieve carbon neutrality. Europe has set its target for 2025. Africa needs to do this, as well.”

Many African countries are looking to significantly enhance production, and are therefore looking to attract investment, as well capacity enhancement, across the entire energy sector value chain. During the panel, speakers discussed how Africa can fast-track the creation of an investor friendly environment, while still increasing local capacity.

“At this stage in Africa, we have come to the realization that someone has to be responsible, and for the first time, we have to take responsibility for the sector,” stated H.E. Minister Lima. “When the lockdown started, flights and movements stopped, and many expats could not fly or work. Could we actually continue operations with just national companies? The answer was yes, and for five months, Equatorial Guinea was operating almost 90% domestically. Our installations were operated by our own people, and so it was thanks to COVID-19 that we realized this.”

“Ghanaians took over the Liquefied Natural Gas processing facility. We have built reasonable local capacity to operate this facility. I am so hopeful that there is potential for Africa to develop, but we have to start doing it. If we make the effort to develop our capacity, then we will be able to do that,” added H.E. Deputy Minister Dr Adam.

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