Fatih Birol, the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), addressed heads of state and government from African countries and around the world at the Italy-Africa Summit hosted by Prime Minister Georgia Meloni in Rome.
Birol emphasized the importance of secure and sustainable energy supplies in fostering economic development and highlighted the need for international cooperation and partnerships, particularly in the energy sector, to support a people-centered energy transition in Africa.
During the summit, Italy shared the priorities of its Mattei Plan, an initiative aimed at formulating a renewed approach to Europe-Africa relations, and announced its commitment to making development in Africa a significant priority during its G7 Presidency in 2024.
Birol stressed the need for a new relationship with Africa that supports the continent in realizing its full potential, with energy acting as a catalyst for development.
Noting that over 600 million people in Africa lack reliable access to electricity, Birol highlighted the urgent need to address clean cooking access, where nearly four in five Africans still cook using open fires or basic stoves.
The IEA plans to convene a Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa on May 14 in Paris, co-chaired by the Prime Ministers of Tanzania and Norway, to bring together leaders from government, the private sector, and civil society to discuss concrete solutions.
Birol discussed various energy-related issues, including clean cooking, scaling up investment, and governments’ clean energy transition plans, in bilateral meetings at the Italy-Africa Summit, including meetings with President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, Tanzania’s Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation January Makamba, and African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina.