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Burundi calls for collaboration to increase renewable energy production at BREAD 2023

As part of their efforts to boost the achievement of SDG7 in Burundi, GOGLA, the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), the Burundi Renewable Energy Association (BUREA), the European Union and the World Bank jointly organised the second edition of the Burundi Renewable Energy Access Days (BREAD) on 3-5 October 2023 in Bujumbura, with the support of GET.invest Burundi. The event was placed under the high patronage of the Government of Burundi, the Ministry of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines (MINHEM), and the Directorate General for Energy.

For three days, BREAD gathered over 200 participants to discuss emerging considerations for Burundi’s Strategy on Universal Access to Electricity coupled with the climate agenda while providing a platform for knowledge exchange, networking and showcasing renewable energy products and services.

In his opening speech, H.E. Ibrahim Uwizeye, Minister of Hydraulics, Energy and Mines, called for greater collaboration to increase the country’s energy production, stressing that “Burundi needs a significant energy supply to exploit [its] mining resources, enable the operation of agricultural processing industries and fully exploit the services offered by information technologies.” In addition, he invited the Directorate General of Energy to “work hard in collaboration with development partners and the private sector to increase energy production and connect households across the country to meet the country’s vision.

On behalf of the European Union, the EU’s Ambassador to Burundi Ms. Elisabetta Pietrobon declared that “access to energy is a precondition for any inclusive and sustainable development” and expressed her satisfaction “to see that Burundi’s highest authorities are attaching particular importance to this sector, as the political will to make rapid progress is essential if we are to achieve the ambitious objectives of the Vision 2040-2060”. While restating the strong commitment of the European Union to support the authorities in Burundi to develop the energy sector in order to achieve universal and equitable access, the Ambassador also emphasised the crucial role of the private sector and the importance of creating a favourable environment for sustainable private investment.

Patrick Tonui, Head of Policy and Regional Strategy at GOGLA, said that “[the] event has been a powerful catalyst for bringing sustainable and accessible energy solutions to Burundi, aligning perfectly with [GOGLA’s] mission to drive the global off-grid solar energy industry. BREAD 2023 has showcased the incredible potential of renewable energy in Burundi, and created valuable partnerships and commitments to universal energy access”. David Lecoque, CEO at the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE) added that “after this successful second edition of BREAD, we are convinced that Burundi, with its ambitious renewable energy targets, will further encourage many companies to develop locally and take part in the massive deployment of renewable energy solutions, as well as improving access to energy in rural areas.”

Country Coordinator for GET.invest Burundi Alexandra Niez highlighted the achievements of the country window since its inception in October 2021, particularly the mobilisation efforts through different trainings and events with energy stakeholders and the GET.invest pipeline development.

In late September, Burundi hosted a second training for energy sector stakeholders on public-private partnerships (PPPs). Jointly delivered by GET.invest and GET.transform with support from the EU Delegation and the EU’s Technical Assistance Facility for Sustainable Energy (EU GTAF), the primary objective of this second series was to delve deeper into the intricacies of PPP contracts, equipping participants with comprehensive knowledge about their technical, financial and legal aspects.

During BREAD 2023, 11 commercial and industrial (C&I) local companies that have been supported by GET.invest and who are looking for installers (EPC and energy service providers) had the opportunity to meet interested companies to discuss photovoltaic projects together.

For GET.invest – Alexandra Niez said – BREAD comes at the end of two years of dedicated work. During this time, we have supported local companies and project developers through our services, which will remain available even after the country window closes at the end of 2023. We are pleased to have worked with the Delegation of the European Union to Burundi and are grateful for their support in helping us unlock the potential of the country’s private sector.

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