Opening remarks at WFES Ministerial Panel


Opening remarks made by OFID Director-General Mr. Suleiman J. Al-Herbish  at a Ministerial Panel entitled “Sustainable Energy for All” at the World Future Energy Summit (WFES) that held during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2013.

First, I would like to extend my thanks to the United Arab Emirates for hosting this year’s International Renewable Energy Conference, and MASDAR for making us feel so welcome.

I had the pleasure to be part of the High Level Group of this Initiative, which I consider a recognition of OFID’s commitment to fighting Energy Poverty and its delivery on the ground.

Indeed, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to share with you OFID’s experience in this field.

Energy has always featured high on OFID’s agenda since inception in 1976. This journey to fight energy poverty has gone through three milestones.

The first was the Third Summit of our Heads of State in Riyadh in 2007, where the fight towards the eradication of Energy Poverty has gained momentum by becoming the flagship of my institution.

The second milestone came a few months later, in June 2008, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia launched what is known today as the Energy for the Poor Initiative, which we have adopted as the plan of action for the call made in Riyadh.

The culmination of our efforts came most recently in June 2012, when our Member Countries adopted the OFID Ministerial Declaration on Energy Poverty. They committed a minimum of US$1 billion to boost the “Energy for the Poor Initiative”. This amount can be scaled up as demand warrants.

We can further leverage this commitment by creating synergies and developing joint resources with our sister organisations, as well as with other development partners.

I had the pleasure of announcing this commitment at the Rio+20 Conference last year.

In financing energy access projects, we follow a novel approach based on three principles.

Firstly, we respond to our partner countries priorities and strategies.

Secondly, we believe that efforts to eradicate energy poverty must be compatible with the country’s natural resources and financial endowment, i.e. efforts should be technology neutral.

Thirdly, we use a wide range of financial instruments: our public sector window and private sector facility finance large-scale electricity generation and grid extension projects. Our trade finance facility provides assistance for the import of energy products, and our Grants support small-scale projects.

Let me close by emphasizing that eradicating energy poverty should be the first and overriding priority.

As such, all energy sources need to be tapped. Renewables are part of the solution.