Following the "Just Energy Transition Partnership" between South Africa and international donors which was made official at COP26 in Glasgow, the launch of a collective initiative to design new Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JET) in Africa has been announced today during the EU-AU Summit.

Six years after the collective ambition was set at COP21 to limit global warming to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, it is time for climate objectives to be translated into action, with tangible, timely results at scale on the ground and for the benefit of local populations.

This call to action is particularly important for the African continent, which is highly exposed to the impacts of climate change, even though it contributes less than others to global emissions. To succeed its energy transition and achieve the SDGs, the African continent will have to meet important challenges during the next decades, with two main objectives:

  • Accelerating universal access to electricity at reasonable cost in Africa as well as the industrialization as per Agenda 2063 of the African Union and create massive job opportunities for the youth;
  • Enhancing NDCs and developing a decarbonised energy mix compatible with the Paris Agreement, which does not lock countries into unsustainable development paths and limits their exposure to rising carbon prices;

Against this backdrop, it is essential for African countries to be given an adequate time and enough concessional financial resources in order to allow for a successful and just energy transition.

While taking into account the principle of equity, common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, in the light of different national circumstances, Leaders gathered at the EU-AU Summit shared a common ambition: to provide most ambitious countries in terms of climate objectives and ready to take new robust commitments to decarbonise their energy mix with a tailored support package, including the necessary critical enablers to build an ambitious, secure and just energy transition.

It has been highlighted that a successful approach for new “JET” partnerships should rest on the following pillars:

  • Country ownership and commitment. JET partnerships will aim at decarbonising the energy mix, including by phasing out coal and optimising the share of transitional sources of energy such as natural gas to avoid carbon lock-in, with a view to secure baseload capacities while increasing as much as possible the part of renewable energies in the energy mix, as well as energy efficiency, paving the way for enhanced NDCs and LTSs in full coherence with the Paris Agreement;
  • Accelerated financial and technical resources through appropriate instruments for the most ambitious countries, including concessional loans, guarantees and grants to reduce the cost of the energy transition for the populations and modernize power grids. New EU instruments will increase significantly its capacity to crowd-in the private sector through the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD+) that will provide guarantees and blending instruments with a strong leverage effect. All partners will be encouraged to join this effort;
  • A pragmatic, country owned and solutions-oriented dialogue, based on robust and data-based country-by-country assessments, in close partnership with all relevant institutions, in order to take into account national specificities and constraints, as we recognize that energy transitions will be different in each country;
  • JET partnerships will also focus more widely on achieving the SDGs, with a focus on access to energy, opportunities for jobs including in particular for youth and women, as well as attracting new industries and incubators for innovation.

The availability at an affordable cost of advanced clean energy technologies is of paramount importance to our commitments under the Paris agreement. Therefore, European and G7’s companies are encouraged to boost their partnership with African local private sector, foster local content, including technology transfers, when undertaking projects under the Just Energy Transition initiative.

Next steps:
It has been announced during the roundtable on Climate Change and Energy Transition that the Team Europe had engaged in an inclusive dialogue on the ground to launch a series of pilot-projects in Senegal, Egypt, Ivory Coast, Kenya and Morocco. All international partners are encouraged to join this effort. Other partnerships will be explored in Africa and beyond.

Respective presidencies of the European Union, the African Union, the G7 and COP27 have confirmed their determination to work closely together to impulse and maintain strong political momentum in these processes in order to bring on board all relevant partners and with a view to make as much progress as possible by COP27, reflecting the need for urgent and accelerated actions by all of us.