February 1, 2016

Remarks by Minister of National Development Dr. Giorgis Teklemikael

On the EDF 11 signing ceremony

Remarks by Minister of National Development Dr. Giorgis Teklemikael

Mr.Koen Doens Director for Eastern and Southern Africa,
Ambassador Christian Manahl,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Allow me to make a brief statement on the socio-economic development significance of this cooperation agreement pending its successful implementation. Before I do that, however it is worth mentioning that this agreement known under EDF 11 is continuation of a series of cooperation agreements under EDF program EU which started for Eritrea EDF 7 i.e. soon after independence.

The previous cooperation programs focused mostly on the rehabilitation, reconstruction and manpower training programs and overall provided significant support to which we are grateful to EU commission as well as some of its members who provided additional support on bilateral bases as well.

The new agreement that we have signed are a package of 200 million Euros, excluding the different call for proposals and it will be implemented in the period 2016 – 2020. In line with government priority it focuses on three major programs, physical facilities, enhancing its management capability but the program includes also strengthening certain critical institutional capacity. Electricity being a consumer as well as investment good it has also a dual role in this program.

It will expand the provision of affordable and reliable electricity supply for the first time to a large segment of rural and semi -urban households. The significance of this basic service the household is considerable as it will replace the biomass and kerosene for lightning and cooking. It will help more children to participate in schooling and to learn more at home. This aspect of the program will also contribute towards the preservation of our environment.

The other significant contribution that a successful implementation of the program will provide is in the economic and social sectors. One of the major constraints of the development in the economic and social sectors is the availability, reliability and affordability of adequate electricity. The low level of capacity utilization in the industrial sector, the inadequate supply of electricity to the health and education sectors in rural areas are good examples of the constraint. gProvidin solutions to these constraint and at the same time stabilizing and increased efficiency of the current provision in the existing transmission and distribution system is a vital component of the program.

An important aspect of this program is that, this additional production of electricity is to be generated from renewable. This is very important aspect, while on the one hand electricity is far produced from diesels and coals which are all imported, substituting them partially will reduce the import bill significantly for the country. Several studies, though not yet complete, suggest that Eritrea is potentially very rich in renewable energy resources i.e. solar, wind and geothermal. Taking today signing as a first step we hope that it will open a wide area of investment opportunities not only on the energy sector, but also on other sectors and the government is creating the conductive trade and investment conditions to achieve these objectives.

So let us work for more productive investment, more employment and increased productivity so that the country can reach higher level of socio-economic development.

Thank you.

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