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Somalia attended side event at the Global SDG7 Conference: Energy Access for Structural Transformation and Sustainable Development in Least Developed

21 February 2018
Bangkok, Thailand

Energy access for structural transformation and sustainable development in the LDCs, a side-event to the Global SDG7 Conference, is organized by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and United Nations Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).

The LDCs have made extraordinary progress in increasing access to electricity, which has more than tripled from 12 per cent to 38 per cent since 1990. But this still leaves 62 per cent of their people without access.

By 2014, the majority (54 per cent) of people without access to electricity worldwide were living in LDCs – more than four times their share in the world population (13 per cent) and approaching double the proportion in 1990 (30 per cent). These gaps are not limited to electricity, since access to modern fuels for cooking and heating is still more limited in these countries.

Energy access is particularly important to rural development, which is central to poverty eradication. In the initial stages, electrification typically occurs mainly in urban areas, while rural areas catch up only later. Consequently, access is much greater in towns and cities than in rural areas, and 82 per cent of people without access to electricity in LDCs live in rural areas.

Facing the challenge of universal access in LDCs means adopting a broad focus which caters for the needs not only of households, but also of producers (in agriculture, industry and services) and public services (hospitals, schools, streets, etc.), as well as paying special attention to rural areas.

The side event will discuss the priority areas for action by both LDCs and their development partners in the path towards SDG7.

Key questions to be discussed include:

  • How should LDCs best steer their sustainable energy mix to support structural transformation and poverty eradication?
  • To what extent do present energy policy choices of LDCs condition the longer-term composition of output, employment and trade in these countries?
  • What are the possible financing alternatives to cover LDCs’ huge energy investment needs?
  • What is the potential for more energy-efficient technologies and cost reductions in renewable energy (including biofuel technologies) in LDCs?