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Thursday, August 13, 2020

“Keep energy central in pandemic recovery plans” – Hon. Kandeh Yumkella

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Hon. Kandeh Yumkella, MP for Constituency 062 – Samu chiefdom joined global energy leaders at a virtual high-level summit to take stock of the impact of the coronavirus disease on the Africa’s energy, oil, and gas sectors at the Africa Ministerial Roundtable: COVID-19 Impact on Africa’s Energy Sector: Challenges and Opportunities co-hosted by the Senegalese Ministry of Petroleum and Energy and the International Energy Agency.

In his special concluding remarks to African ministers and heads of international organizations and representatives of Governments from the UK, Japan, Italy, and the Netherlands present including the AU and EU, Yumkella noted that this new decade must be Africa’s.

“We must ensure that the gains in energy access and transition are safeguarded even in the middle of a pandemic. It is important, therefore, that African finance ministers support their colleague energy ministers.”

Encouraged by the enthusiasm of the remarks by the 10 ministers present, Yumkella further called on Development Finance Institutions (DFIs) including the World Bank (WB), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the African Development Bank (AfDB) among others “to walk the talk and keep energy central to the recovery plans” as they are helping African countries develop recovery plans.

Dr. Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA) and Mouhamadou Makhtar Cisse, minister of petroleum and energy of Senegal, co-chairs of the summit, focused their discussion on policies and investments needed to best support Africa’s response to the coronavirus disease and the global economic recession.

Said Birol, “the pandemic has forced Africa to face three challenges; a slowing down of the progress made in energy access especially the off-grid development, energy investment trend is dropping even further and a downturn in revenue in the oil and gas industry.”

To achieve sustainable and inclusive transitions in Africa’s energy future, participants including Samson Gwede Mantashe, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy of South Africa and current holder of the African Union presidency, underscored the need for international support, coordination, and solidarity. They also called for clear and effective government policies and investments that not only support economies but help develop resilient and sustainable energy systems.

Previously, Dr. Yumkella also took part in IEA’s Fifth Annual Conference on Energy Efficiency. As a member of the Global Commission on Energy Efficiency, chaired by Prime Minister Leo Varadkar of Ireland – he was among global thought leaders, CEOs, 40 ministers and heads of international organizations. In his remarks, Yumkella spoke about the importance advocacy and engagement at all levels to accelerate energy efficiency progress.

Recognizing that energy efficiency has the potential to create large number of jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions with the potential to boost economic activity the committee called for higher ambition and faster action by governments to accelerate improvements in energy efficiency.

Hon. Yumkella also joined the World Bank and IMF Virtual Parliamentary Briefing on Pandemics with a special focus on COVID-19. At this briefing, legislators from across the globe discussed how to take rapid, coordinated action to mitigate the negative human and economic effects of COVID-19 and future pandemics.

On Wednesday, Hon. Yumkella will join eminent personalities at the EU-Africa High-Level Group – an initiative jointly launched by Friends of Europe, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, and the One Campaign. The esteemed group will explore mutually beneficial ways both continents to work together effectively across core policy areas, including development cooperation, trade, investments, entrepreneurship, digital, migration flows, security, and climate change.

Bio Meets Koroma Fatima Meets Sia

By Aruna Turay

Sources have it that arrangements for the long awaited meeting between President Julius Maada Bio and his predecessor, Ernest Bai Koroma are now completed and set to hold at State Lodge in Freetown soonest.

The meeting according to sources is expected to be a closed-door family meeting between the two gentlemen and their wives Mrs. Fatima Maada Bio and Mrs. Sia Nyama Koroma.    

It is said to also form part of President Bio’s commitment to strengthen peace and national cohesion and also to ensure a joint political force against COVID-19.

Sources say the former president and wife will be picked up from their Makeni residence by a presidential team from State Lodge and escorted to Freetown with a few top delegates from the hierarchy of the APC.

The meeting, when held, will discuss joint efforts and strategies to fight Corona in the country among other issues, which include boosting the country’s economic drive.

The scheduled date for the meeting between the two gentlemen is yet to be disclosed but sources say it is to be held shortly.

Our State House source said President Bio is and has always been committed to peace and national cohesion and that irrespective of political interests; leaders should have a continuous dialogue on issues of peace and national cohesion.

It is also said that the president is expected to meet with leaders of other political parties such as NGC, C4C, and others in the opposition to enhancing the role of political parties in the consolidation of peace and the fight against COVID-19.

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