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Bringing energy to 100 million Africans

Last week, African and European political and business leaders met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to lay out bold plans for Africa’s energy future, with hydropower at the forefront.

The meeting, held on 12–13 February, brought together 450 participants from 40 countries, including ministers, diplomats, academics and private and civil society representatives.

The Africa–EU Energy Partnership (AEEP) aims to bring access to modern and sustainable energy services to at least 100 million Africans by 2020. 

Africa–EU Energy PartnershipThis goal is coupled with a strong commitment to developing renewable energy, with specific targets set for 10GW of new hydropower installed capacity, as well as 5GW of wind power and 0.GW of solar. No specific restrictions are included in these targets, suggesting a role for all sizes and types of hydropower.

The explicit reference to hydropower development in the partnership’s objectives shows high-level recognition that if Africa is to meet its development goals, hydro needs to be part of the mix.

Ethiopian Minister of Energy Alemyehu Tegenu emphasised the need for government strategy and energy policy to support the partnership’s objectives.

He said: “It is the government’s responsibility to mobilise any resources needed to develop energy resources in Africa, it is not only by private sector or civil society who can address this.”

The AEEP is the primary mechanism for driving EU funding into energy development across Africa. The partnership aims to benefit both continents by improving energy service provision, advancing sustainable practices and fostering greater Africa–EU business cooperation.

IHA represented the hydropower sector at last week’s meeting of the partnership. We will be able to contribute to the initiative through our work on regional development and sustainability in Africa, both topics that are crucial to the continent’s development.

You can find out more about the partnership at