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Energy Access: Africa

Volume 619: debated on Wednesday 11 January 2017

Access to energy is a prerequisite driver of economic growth and development. Over 620 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have no access to energy. When able to secure it, the world’s poorest people can pay up to 80 times what we pay. That is why the UK and this Department are playing a key role in providing both on and off-grid energy access, such as through the Energy Africa campaign, which will help to secure energy supplies for over 4.5 million of the world’s poorest people.

I know from my visits to east Africa that providing access to reliable, sustainable, clean energy is crucial for economic growth and prosperity in Africa. Does the Minister agree that the CDC and its investment in Africa present one of the best opportunities to provide that?

I absolutely agree that the CDC can play a key role. I am pleased that the House showed support for its work only yesterday in a debate led by the Minister of State, my hon. Friend the Member for Penrith and The Border (Rory Stewart), with support from the Secretary of State. A good example is Globeleq, in which the CDC has a majority stake, which will drive forward energy provision of 5,000 MW in Africa—1,000 MW can support 800,000 jobs. That is the scale of the difference we can make when and where we get this right, and that is why we are doing it.

9. The German Government have called on the World Bank to focus all its work on climate and sustainability targets and to put an end to investments in obsolete, climate-damaging technologies. Given that the World Bank is the largest recipient of UK aid for energy, will the Government follow Germany’s example and use their influence to call on the World Bank to stop investing in fossil fuels? (908005)

I have set out some of the reasons why energy supply is so important in driving development. Of course, it is also important that that supply is sustainable and environmentally friendly. In all the projects that DFID pursues, we seek to ensure that that is the case, including in our discussions with the World Bank. Given our contributions and their impact, we recognise that it is particularly important that the World Bank appreciates and works towards that agenda.