Address delivered at the IEF16 Ministerial Meeting

10.04.2018 | Delhi, India

Statement of OFID Director-General Suleiman J Al-Herbish delivered at the IEF16 Ministerial Meeting, which took place in Delhi, India, April 10-12, 2018.

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen; I would like to begin by thanking His Excellency Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas of India, and Dr Sun Xiansheng, Secretary General of International Energy Forum, for inviting me to the 16th IEF Ministerial Meeting.

For me personally, it is always a pleasure to participate in the IEF events, since I have been associated with the IEF since 1991 when the idea of creating a forum for energy producers and consumers dialogue was first floated. I also represented the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the subsequent ministerial meetings that led to the creation of today’s IEF.

But allow me now to address the subject matter of this important session on “Energy access and affordability.”

In approaching this subject, I would like to highlight three main issues: advocacy, operations on ground, and partnerships. Together, these three elements provide the best framework to effectively deliver affordable universal energy access.

Excellences, Ladies and Gentlemen; Let me begin with advocacy. Though the role of energy in development is well-known and well-documented, it was not specifically acknowledged in the Millennium Development Goals.

At OFID, we picked up on this gap and publically called for energy poverty alleviation to be seen as the “Missing Ninth MDG.” This built upon the 2007 Declaration of the Third Summit of OPEC Heads of States and Governments which provided OFID with a new mandate that called on us to work toward the eradication of energy poverty together with other institutions and the energy industry.

OFID responded to this mandate promptly and organized a workshop in Abuja, Nigeria in June 2008 to study the causes of, and solutions to, energy poverty. This was part of our advocacy efforts in international fora to include energy poverty alleviation in the post-2015 development agenda. We take pride that we were among those whose efforts culminated by placing energy as the 7th Sustainable Development Goal in the 2030 agenda. This achievement would not have been possible without the strategic collaborations and joint efforts of like-minded institutions such as SEforAll and IEF. Energy’s new role in the global agenda has, in turn, motivated the public sector, private sector and multilateral development banks to inject more resources into this critical area.

Excellences, Ladies and gentlemen; This brings me to the second issue: action on the ground. Energy poverty alleviation is impossible without concerted and concrete efforts to deliver operations that meet specific needs.

We here at OFID work with our partner countries to prioritize universal access to sustainable modern energy services. Our projects, for example, included new power plants in Bangladesh and Egypt, and rural electrification schemes in Morocco, Mozambique and Uganda.

At the same time, decline in renewable energy cost and widely used PPA (Power Purchasing Agreement) models has led to increase in private sector investments in energy access. Among our many private sector operations, we financed large-scale wind energy installations in Honduras, Jordan, Kenya and Pakistan.

In addition, our energy poverty grants program has accelerated deployment of mini-grids and distributed generation systems, as they are projected to account for nearly 50% of the investment needed to meet universal energy access to 2030. Our grants provided a de-risking mechanism for business ventures to stimulate replication and scaling up of hybrid mini-grids in, for example, Bangladesh and India.

The strategic framework for all these activities is our Energy for the Poor Initiative, now in its 10th year of implementation. The initiative is funded through a revolving commitment of US$1bn pledged by our Ministerial Council, in its June 2012 Declaration on Energy Poverty, which was declared by OFID in Rio+20.

Since 2008, we’ve committed over US$3.5 billion to energy projects. Through joining resources with our strategic partners, this amount leverages more than US$35 billion in support of more than 200 operations in 74 countries.

Excellences, Ladies and gentlemen; This brings me to the third and final issue: partnerships. Financing alone cannot effectively ensure universal energy access. Partnerships allow for an efficient pooling of resources and facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best practices.

For its part, OFID has established formal partnerships with a number of organizations, including the World Bank, the regional development banks and the specialized agencies of the United Nations, as well as a multitude of non-governmental and other organizations.

Our partnership extends beyond like-minded institutions to include the oil and gas industry, as instrumented by the 2007 Declaration of the Third Summit of OPEC Heads of States and Governments. In this respect, in 2016 OFID and the World Petroleum Council launched the “Oil and Gas Industry Energy Access Platform (EAP)”, which is a joint collaboration among industry leaders such as TOTAL and SHELL, among others. We are currently negotiating with the national oil companies of our Member Countries to join the platform. This strategic partnership is intended to leverage the knowledge, experience and technology of the oil and gas industry to provide a framework for collaboration on energy access solutions.

Excellences, Ladies and gentlemen; Let me conclude by noting that through its implementation of these three issues (advocacy, action, and partnerships), OFID has become a main player in alleviating energy poverty and has demonstrated the way forward in shaping the global development agenda.

I wish to re-state the commitment of OFID to continue to scale-up actions on energy access and to work actively with the IEF, the energy industry, and other stakeholders, along the lines spelled out in the Riyadh Declaration and SDG7. Thank you.