Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

A joint team from the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the World Food Programme (WFP) has concluded a three-day series of strategic discussions on enhancing food security through renewable energy in Madagascar.

The talks, which ended on 15 March 2024, were led by Robert Lisinge, ECA’s Acting Director for Private Sector Development and Finance, Meghestab Hailu, Director of WFP’s Regional Office for Southern Africa, and Mamadou Mbaye, WFP’s Country Director for Madagascar.

The discussions highlighted initiatives for rural electrification and explored collaborations with agencies like the Rural Electricity Development Agency (ADER) and the National Institute of Statistics.

The delegates examined ongoing challenges in rural energy deployment, as well as the tender management processes. Contributions from the German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ) to rural growth via electrification initiatives were also highlighted.

Notable was the dialogue with ADER on the topic of bidding processes and risk mitigation tools, with a focus on the advancements in mini-grid connections and rural electrification that could benefit Madagascar.

Data exchange constituted a crucial aspect of the discussions, especially with the National Institute of Statistics, to back the execution of comprehensive studies on the nexus of agriculture, water, and energy, all aimed at reinforcing food security. A follow-up session was scheduled to optimize data sharing in support of these objectives.

The delegation also met with the UN country team and energy experts from the offices of the UN Resident Coordinator (UNRC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to exchange experiences in rural electrification, brief on the joint ECA-WFP initiative, and seek collaboration. The different business models UN agencies employ in rural energy development support were discussed.

Addressing the regulatory landscape, which is instrumental for the active engagement of the private sector in off-grid electricity markets, was a focal point during the meetings with the Office of Energy Regulation (ORE).

The ORE briefed on recent regulatory updates and encouraged ECA and WFP to expand their analysis and support across the entire electricity market, a suggestion the delegation welcomed.

Technical dialogues were held with Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All), whose geospatial analytics on electrification and clean cooking are set to form the informational foundation for the ECA-WFP joint effort on geospatial analysis of the food-water-energy nexus.

Discussions with the Ministries of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, and Energy and Hydrocarbons also took place, providing updates and deliberating on the initiative’s practicalities and support mechanisms.

The delegation also met with the National Mapping Agency, securing its commitment to assist in the geospatial analysis crucial to the food-water-energy nexus.

The ECA-WFP initiative is set to make a significant impact in Madagascar by refining WFP business models, expanding strategies, and bolstering financial and regulatory frameworks. It leverages best practices and builds local capacity to quickly roll out clean energy solutions, aiming to enhance food security and reshape the rural landscape.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).

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