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Occasional  Paper 15: Sustainable Energy in Eritrea- Proceedings of a National Policy Seminar

Edited By

Semere Habtetsion
Zemenfes Tsighe
Amanuel Anebrhan


Executive Summary


An affordable and sustainable supply of energy is a critical pre-requisite for rural development. Unfortunately, energy issues seldom feature prominently in rural development programmes. Where they are considered, the links between energy and socio-economic development are seldom treated in an integrated manner. Even rural poverty alleviation and/or eradication programmes do not always consider energy as an important dimension of their programmes. Due to such persistent lack of policy and institutional support for rural energy supply in the past, the opportunities for income and employment generation in rural areas have not adequately exploited. Eritrea's initiatives in this direction are just beginning as manifested in the papers of these proceedings. In order to enrich these initiatives and to discuss the implementation modalities with the various concerned stakeholders, the Ministry of Energy and Mines, together with AFREPREN/FWD, organised the second national stakeholders seminar on 30th-31st October, 2001 in Asmara, Eritrea.

The overarching factors that have motivated the planning and conducting of the national seminar on sustainable energy development in Eritrea, include:

·The heavy dependence on unmanaged biomass energy, which is largely regarded as unsustainable.

·The poor access to modern energy by rural households, and small rural manufacturing and service enterprises.

·The need to conduct sensitisation and promotion efforts; maximise private sector involvement and popular participation; and, co-ordinate the efforts of different stakeholders;

·The recommendations from the AFREPREN/FWD regional studies on Renewables and Energy for Rural development.

·The promotion of renewables and sustainable energy by important global environment initiatives.

The objectives of the seminar were to:

·Promote sustainable development in the energy sector.

·Identify and discuss the problems and challenges facing the sustainable development of the energy sector.

·Identify appropriate policies, strategies, and programmes to be pursued.

·Gather suggestions from participants that will contribute to improved performance of the energy sector.

The seminar brought together 73 participants from different institutions. The participants were drawn from Government ministries, utilities, the university, national and international NGOs, financial institutions, private sector, donor communities and the UN agencies in Eritrea. Ten papers on different energy themes were presented at the seminar. The corresponding discussions and recommendations are presented in these Proceedings. 

The discussions and issues at the seminar were critically important to the Ministry and to the participants in terms of developing a common strategic approach on sustainable energy development. The seminar also provided a good opportunity for the Ministry of Energy and Mines to receive feedback on its policies and implementation programs from relevant stakeholders.

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