Somalia hosts forum on sustainable energy


MOGADISHU, Somalia - A two-day forum on investment opportunities in Somalia’s sustainable energy sector opened on Tuesday in Mogadishu, the Somali capital.

The participants are led by the Federal Government of Somalia, members of the private sector and international partners.

Speaking at today’s opening session, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia (SRSG), Michael Keating, lauded the three groups for coming together to address the energy challenges for Somalia.

“This meeting today is about bringing key stakeholders together who can contribute to a take-off in access to energy, renewable energy in Somalia, and each of us has a strong interest in making this happen,” Mr. Keating.

The SRSG said Somalia has enormous energy resources which can be used to address health, education, social, environmental and security challenges facing the country. However, he said that more regulation of the renewable energy sector was needed to promote its growth.

“At the moment it’s fairly unregulated and even though some businesses are making money, it is very small compared to what could be done if the sector was more regulated,” Mr. Keating noted.

Some speakers noted the adverse effects of 25 years of conflict and instability in hindering the development of Somalia’s energy sector.

The federal Minister of Energy and Water Resources, Salim Aliyow Ibrow, said the government was in the process of drafting regulations to govern investment in the energy sector. He also recognized a pressing need for the country to move in the direction of renewable energy sources.

“The country needs investment to harvest energy from the sun, water, and wind. The investment will develop industries and hence create employment,” the minister added.

The Deputy President of the Somali Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abdirahman Abdullahi Adan, described the forum as a timely event, adding that Somalia needs to embrace the sustainable use of energy.

“We truly believe that this conference is being held at the most appropriate time, and we appeal for support to this initiative,” said Mr. Adan.

Somalia’s federal Minister of Planning, Investment and Economic Development, Jamal Mohamed Hassan, said the government was working as a team to ensure the country has adequate electricity that can be provided at more affordable rates.

A United Nations expert on renewable energy, Andrew Morton, observed that the energy sector in Somalia is in the hands of the country’s private sector, which has been receiving grants from the international community. 

“But to really grow, it needs to bring in financing, it needs to bring credit. And to get that happening, we need to set up the right environment. We need to have interesting projects and interesting businesses in which companies can invest,” Morton added. 

The forum will discuss challenges facing the energy sector that include low rates of investment and the high cost of energy in Somalia, which is saddled with one of the highest household tariffs for electricity in the world. It will also look at opportunities for investment in oil and gas in addition to renewable energy options such as wind, solar and hydropower.

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