Energy major Eni SpA and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are joining forces to improve access to sustainable energy and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Africa.
A statement from the two institutions said the partnership was the first of its kind between UNDP and a global energy company.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed by Eni Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi and UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner during an official ceremony hosted by the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations on the margins of the 73rd General Assembly.
“Improving access to energy, especially in Africa, is core to our values, and it is now an intrinsic part of our business. We invest more than half of our budget in Africa, boosting the domestic potential and promoting local development. Today’s MoU, a first for the energy sector, underscores the credibility of our efforts and the soundness of our business model,” Mr. Descalzi said.
Per the agreement, Eni will develop business ventures to increase access to clean energy in the region and UNDP will use its extensive development network in over 170 countries to foster an enabling environment to implement the partnership and assess its sustainable impact in local communities.
Ghana, Angola, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Gabon, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria, and Tanzania are among the first countries slated for the initial roll out of the partnership.
“The private sector is a strategic partner that can help realize our vision for inclusive development, as outlined in Agenda 2030 and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” said UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner. “UNDP and Eni’s combined expertise, ability to innovate, and on-the-ground networks, can enable better access to sustainable energy sources in Africa.
He continued, “This partnership demonstrates how we can work together to achieve the Goals, specifically on SDG 17 on partnerships, 13 for climate, 12 for sustainable consumption and production, and above all SDG 7 on affordable and clean energy.”
He also said UNDP will work to ensure the success of the partnership in accelerating access to sustainable energy sources in order to meet the social and environmental objectives envisaged in Agenda 2030.
Africa’s energy demands are poised to rise with rapid urbanization and economic growth.
The 2030 Agenda and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), specifically SDG 7, calls for universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services, including clean fuels and technologies.
Eni projects will include electricity production from photovoltaic (PV) plants (including floating systems), wind farms, off-grid hybrid solutions, reforestation and clean cooking solutions.
As part of this partnership, UNDP will also work to raise awareness for clean energy and sustainable business models, and provide training and capacity building in recipient communities.
“In 2017, Eni delivered 56 billion cubic meters of gas to domestic markets in 14 countries in Africa. To date, it has invested a total of approximately US$2 billion in sub-Saharan Africa in the construction and restoration of networks and power plants, supplying electricity to over 18 million people. We are now launching new investments in renewable energy across the continent,” Mr. Descalzi explained.
The MoU between Eni and UNDP follows the launch in September 2017 of the Centre for climate and sustainable development in Rome under the joint auspices of the Italian Ministry of Environment and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) to facilitate sustainable development in Africa.