The opening of the IEC Regional Centre for Africa and of this workshop here in Nairobi is well-timed.

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1 Ladies and Gentlemen, The opening of the IEC Regional Centre for Africa and of this workshop here in Nairobi is well-timed. In September, the United Nations has adopted an expansive set of development goals that aim to end poverty in all its forms by The 17 Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs aim to address a range of issues and many of them are directly impacted by IEC work in one form or another. Above everything, SDG 7, which aims to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all is where IEC work is most relevant and important. 1

2 Energy is the golden thread that impacts most of the 17 SDGs and beyond that, the development of every nation and the well-being of every one of us. The United Nations has recognized Energy as a cornerstone for economic development, facilitating poverty and hunger reduction efforts, improving education and women s empowerment and providing better quality healthcare. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank stated that no component of the SDGs is more important than point number 7: Energy. He sent a strong message: Africa cannot function without power as it is handicapping our growth and development. Our homes, businesses, schools and hospitals 2

3 suffer enormously. Factories lie idle for lack of power. The private sector is frozen in time. The lack of energy has put the brakes on Africa's industrialization... Africa s economic development and the safety of many African s are directly dependent on reliable access to good quality electric power. As the President of State Grid Corporation of China I can assure you that this doesn t happen by chance. It needs regulations but also the know-how and expertise to build relevant infrastructure that is safe, affordable and can be maintained in the long run. 3

4 The IEC is the worldwide organization that provides much of the global technical framework for energy generation and for the billions of components, devices and systems that use electricity and contain electronics. Most electronic and electric devices are built to IEC International Standards and many are tested and verified by the IEC Conformity Assessment Systems. Part of our mission is to ensure and verify safety, efficiency and interoperability of off-grid and on-grid infrastructure and improve energy efficiency, the world s largest untapped energy source. Our WTO compliant consensus based work is driven by the requirements of public and private stakeholders from all around the world. 4

5 Many thousand experts from across the globe help us write the technical specifications for devices and systems, and for the testing and verification of their conformity. The IEC is a partner of the United Nations Sustainable Energy for All Programme. Later today you will hear more about some of the technical work the IEC is undertaking to ensure off grid-energy access and in particular access to efficient and safe solar lamps as part of the World Bank Group's Lighting Global Quality Assurance Programme. A week ago, the IEC together with the Bureau for Indian Standards has organized a successful meeting with record attendance in New Delhi to help advance low voltage DC 5

6 which is one of the key technologies in accelerating energy access in developing countries. But energy generation and distribution is only part of the equation. Increasing energy consumption is the other. Africa is the world s second-fastest-growing region, topped only by emerging Asia. This growth is fuelled by a rising consumer market and not, as one could believe, by the sale of resources. Over the coming years the African economy is expected to grow by 7.7% annually, almost double the rate of advanced economies. True, Africa is starting from a lower point and is now roughly where Southeast Asia was 30 years ago, but the opportunities are huge. According to Deloitte rising consumer demand, aligned with high annual growth will be adding USD 1.1 trillion to African GDP by

7 Already now Africa is third behind the European Union and China in terms of investment. Reliable infrastructure and energy access could significantly accelerate this trend. Today, according to World Bank statistics only about 24 % percent of sub-saharan Africa has access to electricity. Urbanization is a key driver of economic activity. African cities are expected to contribute the most with nearly 40% GDP growth. Today around 38% of Africans live in cities, this figure will grow to 47% by Cities will need to grow smarter and more sustainable, and here too IEC work will help Africa to make the best of new technologies. 7

8 Africans are exceptionally optimistic about their economic future: 84 percent of the consumers interviewed by McKinsey expect to be better off in two years. The middle class is growing. In 2008, 16 million African households had incomes above $20,000 a year a level that enabled them to buy houses, cars, appliances, and branded products. Another 27 million households earned $10,000 to $20,000. In addition, 41 million households reported incomes of $5,000 to $10,000 the level at which families start spending more than half their income on non-food items. By 2020 the total number of households in all three segments will reach 128 million, which should make Africa one of the fastestgrowing consumer markets of this decade. 8

9 Today, more than 200 million Africans are aged between 14 and 24 this demographic is expected to increase to 321 million by Africa is the only continent that is growing younger. Young Africans form a large share of the rising middle class and are expected to seek access to a wider choice of consumer goods and entertainment, and increased connectivity. Young African urbanites resemble their counterparts anywhere on the globe. They are brand and quality conscious but affordability is critical. All of this will drive energy and in particular electricity consumption. 9

10 According to OECD numbers, it is expected that by 2040 developing countries, including in Africa, will use double the electricity developed countries use today. Going forward, African countries will need to produce more electric power, faster than ever before. Just last week I participated in the CIGRE IEC forum in South Africa that addressed the "Development of electricity infrastructures in sub-saharan Africa. It very clearly showed the challenge African countries are facing to provide sufficient energy for their people considering this increasing demand. The event also underlined that there are many different solutions that need to be considered. Big will not always be beautiful and off-grid may be the key for bringing more power faster to the masses. Over the coming two years, IEC working groups will develop 10

11 or revise technical specifications and test methods related to pico-solar products, solar home system kits, renewable energy mini-grid systems, and energy efficient appliances that are appropriate for use in off-grid applications. A smart energy future for Africa will also depend on African countries being able to interconnect existing and new infrastructures with each other, beyond national borders. The broad use of International Standards holds such a promise. They will also help Africa to build more reliable, safer and more affordable infrastructure faster. By using the same harmonized rules everywhere, African countries will be able to buy systems and devices anywhere in the world, reducing their dependency on suppliers from a single country or region. 11

12 Africa has an abundance of natural resources; the continent is basically one big solar panel. It has wind and lots of water: DRC alone has water resources that could power a large part of the continent. And yet, 93% of Africa s hydropower potential remains underdeveloped. Today, over 80% of African electricity generation is still from fossil fuels. Fossil fuel prices are volatile. If for no other reason, some countries may want to increase the share of renewables in energy generation to ensure long-term energy security. Africa has also identified the need for innovation to sustain long-term growth 12

13 and reduce its reliance on traditional commodity markets. It is a rising competitor in the technology industry. Kenya is the global leader in the mobile to mobile payment system with m-pesa. Many more start-ups often based on mobile technologies are launched all over the continent. More than 90 tech hubs have been identified by the World Bank in South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania and Senegal. A report by the African Union On the Wings of Innovation: Africa 2024 makes key recommendations related to harnessing emerging technologies, investing in higher technical training, promoting entrepreneurship and increasing basic infrastructure. Through the IEC Regional Centre for Africa, the IEC offers African companies and their engineers the possibility to tap into the broad global technical know-how of the IEC. 13

14 We run one of the biggest think-tanks in the world, where renowned experts share their knowledge and expertise freely with others. Africa is more than ever on the IEC agenda. We now address 48 countries in Africa. Active participation by engineers from Africa will ensure that in the near future IEC International Standards will more closely fulfil African needs. By using IEC International Standards, African companies of all sizes will be able to export and compete on the world market and African consumers will have access to safer, better quality products. I wish you now an excellent workshop and thank you for your attention. 14

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