On 8 December Jennie Barugh, head of the Department for International Development (DFID) Uganda office and Dr Stephen Isabalija, Permanent Secretary at the Ugandan Ministry for Energy and Mineral Development signed the Energy Africa Compact between the UK and the Government of Uganda.
In her remarks at the signing event, Jennie Barugh said:
The UK government is committed to help Uganda to create a more modern and inclusive economy, where poverty is reduced in every corner of the country. Energy poverty undermines productivity, job creation and livelihoods, reduces the ability of the state to provide basic services, and directly affects health and education outcomes – with disproportionate impacts on women and girls. This compact will improve access and innovation in the solar energy market, increasing energy access for all. Access to solar power will save people and businesses money on expensive forms of energy and reduce the time women and girls spend gathering fuel to burn.
Speaking at the signing event, Dr. Isabalija said:
The objective of the Energy Compact is to document strategic areas to be addressed to accelerate the adoption of solar home and institutional lighting systems to achieve 100% electrification by 2030. Currently the Ministry has created a conducive environment for solar business that includes VAT exemption for major solar components, support for private sector companies, provision of solar end-user subsidies, capacity building through training of technicians and knowledge and establishing solar financing models and looks forward to continued collaboration with DFID and other Development Partners.
More than 600 million, or two out of every three people across sub-Saharan Africa do not have electricity. In Uganda, over 30 million, or four out of every five people do not have electricity. Lack of energy access is stifling economic growth with power outages costing countries like Uganda between one and two per cent of their annual gross domestic product. Achieving energy access for all is crucial to Uganda’s developing economy and improving people’s livelihoods, including women and girls. 50% of businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa view a lack of reliable electricity access as a major constraint to doing business.
The Energy Africa Compact sets out concrete actions that will facilitate a stronger and more sustainable market for solar home systems, reaching the poorest and most vulnerable in Uganda. By removing barriers to energy markets for private sector investment and innovation, the poorest people will gain access to clean, reliable and affordable energy.