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
·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
·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
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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