ECA and partners empowering African countries to plan their energy transformation

Addis Ababa, 07 February 2019 (ECA) - The second annual Energy Modelling Platform for Africa (EMP-A 19) was held in Ethiopia from January 14-29 with a more than two-week intensive training after the successful launch of the initiative in January 2018 in Addis Ababa.

The EMP-A is an annual event jointly organised by United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), the World Bank, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), Department for International Development (DFID), University of Cape Town, KTH and the OpTIMUS Community together with a number of African and international partners.

It provides an excellent opportunity to bring together the energy planning and modelling community in Africa to share experiences, models and data in climate, land, energy and water systems.

The training segment of the EMP-A included power system modeling, geospatial least-cost planning for integrated grid and off-grid electrification, as well as software and data management for the establishment of a Spatial Development Infrastructure (SDI).

While modeling skills are key, coupling it with data and software management is necessary for the sustainability of modeling capacity, data access and management, and local update over time of the results of the modeling exercises.

The training gathered over 30 African practitioners from government ministries, academia and utilities to build capacity for establishing a data driven approach for the achievement of the 2030 SDGs, with a particular focus on SDG 7.

“It always seems impossible until its done.The capacity for planning Africa’s energy transformation in support of the SDGs and Agenda 2063 must come from Africa,” said Linus Mofor, Senior Environmental Affairs Officer at the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) of the ECA at an awards ceremony held after the training.

He said the 2019 cohort now adds to the 2018 trainees towards building the much-needed critical mass of energy planners and modelers in Africa.

Mr. Mofor thanked the University of Cape Town for its strong role in the EMP-A and for hosting the second event after Addis Ababa.

He said with the increasing demand for energy to power sustainable development in Africa, it was imperative that the continent has strong capacity in energy modelling needed to plan and optimize investments in energy, given that the continent is hugely endowed with abundant fossil and renewable energy resources.

In emphasising the role of models in policy making, Mr. Holger Rogner of the OpTIMUS Community said that models can only effectively inform energy planning if there is a strong two-way communication between modellers and policy makers through a strong model-policy interface.   

Mustapha Jallab and Ron Kamwendo presented the work of the ECA’s African Institute of Economic Development and Planning’s (IDEP) flagship modular capacity development programme on energy demand and supply management.

“IDEP saw its role in the EMP-A as critical not only to the development of a critical mass of African energy modelling experts, but also the development of energy planning capacity at the critical level of development planners and the mobilisation of the private sector to invest in African energy projects,” Mr. Kamwendo said.

For her part, Chiara Rogate, an Energy Specialist with the World Bank and ESMAP, state: “These training of the trainers events are aimed at establishing a community of practice in Sub-Saharan Africa for geospatial planning, and expose and transfer skills to manage the latest technology advances.”

EMP-A 2020 will be hosted by the University of Mauritius, establishing EMP-A not only as a returning annual event, but also a driving force in bringing sectors and nations together to achieve universal, affordable and reliable access for all.

EMP-A 2019 was immediately followed by a one-day ‘Roundtable Initiative on Strategic Energy Planning’ that was convened and led by DFID.

The roundtable, consisting of an ad hoc group from development partners, academia and intergovernmental organizations came up with a set of energy planning principles that could be adopted as a code of practice for work on energy planning and modelling.


Issued by:

Communications Section
Economic Commission for Africa
PO Box 3001
Addis Ababa
Tel: +251 11 551 5826