Energy partnerships with Africa

by Josef Göppel


The Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, Dr Gerd Müller, wants there to be a paradigm shift in the cooperation with Africa, and he is absolutely right to call for this. It predominantly needs to take the form of a move from aid projects to economic activity based on partnership.

A central element of this is off-grid access to electricity on a self-sustaining “cellular” basis.

I therefore propose an energy partnership with Africa consisting of three elements.

1. Germany helping young Africans to obtain basic electrical training.

2. Graduates of this training being offered start-up financing to create their own company. This offer allows them to be able to provide decentralised electricity to end-consumers in their home region on a self-reliant economic basis.

3. Should they wish, they can receive support from Germany in the form of personal partnerships involving German energy cooperatives, public utility companies, interest groups or church communities and the young companies in Africa. A wide and varied network of personal contacts provides greater stability for the economic activity. In this way, a vibrant sense of neighbourliness on equal terms is possible. To achieve this, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development should create a pool of dedicated individuals who are able to ensure a broad base for the project.