THE Least Developed Countries report was jointly launched on the 24th of November, 2017 at the One UN conference Hall in Dar es salaam, Tanzania by the Ambassador of Belgium, H. E. Paul Cartier, The UN Resident Coordinator, Alvaro Rodriguez and Dr. Giovanni Valensisi a senior Economist from The UN Conference on Trade and Development-UNCTAD Headquarters in Geneva.
This year’s report focused on Transformative Energy Access. In his presentation of the report, Dr. Giovanni cited 62 per cent of people in Least Developed Countries had no access to electricity compared to 10 per cent in developed countries. Despite the progress made by Least Developed countries to provide electricity, the electrification gap was still widening between the developed and Least Developed Countries.
Electricity is still more expensive in LDC’s compared to developed countries. Power outages are common and at least 42 per cent of firms in LDC’s identified electricity as a major constraint leading to the loss of at least 7 per cent of the firm’s revenues.
The report calls for many policy recommendations to be put in place. It also calls for the realization that the Sustainable Development Goal Seven on ‘Affordable and clean energy’ has a significant role in ensuring all other Sustainable Development Goals are achieved by 2030. Health, Gender, Industrialization and several other goals rely on access to energy.
In his statement, Mr. Alvaro called upon Governments including Tanzania to make a serious effort to achieve transformative energy access by 2030 through among other things, “integrating energy policies and structural transformation strategies, leveraging technological options toward rural electrification and development, harnessing science, technology and innovation policies for transformational energy access.”
Dr. Giovanni, who took part in authoring this report, urged LDC’s to “establish climate resilient power sector diversification, increase mini grids and alternative sources of energy. Enhanced energy efficiency to meet firms needs and transform from producing energy for local household use to producing energy for production needs”. The report further analyses and advises on the public and private sector role, Official Development Assistance-ODA, technological transfers from more developed states like China and India who have faced similar conditions to LDC’s and the need to integrate regional energy markets.
Participants at the launch included representatives from the diplomatic community, Government Ministries including the Government Ministry of Finance and Planning, Representatives from International and local NGO’s, Universities and the UN.