Uganda and UK sign agreement to improve energy access

Uganda Street MarketUganda and UK sign agreement to improve energy access. (Image source: Andrew Regan/Commons)An Energy Africa Compact between Uganda and the UK has been signed in an attempt to provide the poorest Ugandans access to clean, reliable and affordable energy

In Uganda, over 30 million, or four out of every five people, do not have electricity, according to the British High Commission Kampala. This compact aims to improve access and innovation in the solar energy market, increasing energy access for all. Access to solar power will save people and businesses money on expensive forms of energy and reduce the time women and girls spend gathering fuel to burn.

At the signing, Dr Stephen Dr. Isabalija, Permanent Secretary at the Ugandan Ministry for Energy and Mineral Development, said: The objective of the Energy Compact is to document strategic areas to be addressed to accelerate the adoption of solar home and institutional lighting systems to achieve 100% electrification by 2030. The Ministry has created a conducive environment for solar businesses that includes VAT exemption for major solar components, support for private sector companies, provision of solar end-user subsidies, capacity building through training of technicians and establishing solar financing models.

Lack of energy access is stifling economic growth, with power outages costing countries like Uganda between one and two per cent of their annual gross domestic product, according to the High Commission. Achieving energy access for all is crucial to Uganda’s developing economy and improving people’s livelihoods. Meanwhile, 50% of businesses in Sub-Saharan Africa view a lack of reliable electricity access as a major constraint to doing business. 

The Energy Africa Compact sets out concrete actions to facilitate a stronger and more sustainable market for solar home systems, reaching the poorest and most vulnerable in Uganda. By removing barriers to energy markets for private sector investment and innovation, the poorest people will gain access to clean, reliable and affordable energy, says the High Commission.

Jennie Barugh, Head of the Department for International Development Uganda office, said: The UK government is committed to help Uganda create a more modern and inclusive economy, where poverty is reduced in every corner of the country.

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