Ade Mamonyane Lekoetje made the comment on Wednesday while addressing delegates during the validation of The Gambia National Sustainable Energy for all Action Agenda and Investment Prospectus documents at the Sheraton Hotel.
She said: “As indicated in The Gambia’s medium term plan, the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment, energy is a critical driver of growth and poverty reduction. However, the energy sector in The Gambia has faced several challenges. The high cost of generating electricity limits its distribution, affordability and reliability. According to the Light Poverty Survey undertaken in 2013, only 38 percent of the population had access to electricity and the majority live in urban areas. The limited access coupled with high cost makes The Gambia less competitive for energy intensive investment within the Ecowas region. It makes doing business very expensive and less profitable and therefore drives away the much-needed foreign investments for job creation and economic growth.
“The country’s target for Vision 2020 is to reach 150 megawatts of electricity generation that will enable the government to increase access to energy by bigger margins. The importance of energy cannot be over-emphasised as it is a great enabler for sustainable development, poverty reduction and economic growth. Energy is a cross-cutting area and the joint collaboration by different partners as demonstrated in this process is encouraging. It needs to be strengthened and fostered for greater impact in making sure that everyone has access to efficient, affordable and sustainable energy.
Ade who is also the resident coordinator of the United Nations system in The Gambia stressed that the UN was on course to electrify efforts towards the achievement of sustainable energy for all.
She continued: “As you all know, UNDP is supporting The Gambia in the energy sector through the United Nations’ secretary general’s initiative on sustainable energy for all. UN in general and UNDP in particular, view sustainable energy as a priority agenda for human development. Energy is the golden thread that connects economic growth, increases social equity, and creates an environment that allows the world to thrive. Development is not possible without energy and sustainable development requires sustainable energy. This is why our secretary general declared the year 2012 as the ‘International Year for Sustainable Energy for all.’”]]>