A post-COVID-19 São Tomé and Príncipe: a sustainable future with renewable energy and energy efficiency
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on international travel has temporarily brought São Tomé and Príncipe’s thriving tourism industry to a standstill. The country’s authorities have moved to protect their population from the spread of the coronavirus, implementing social distancing rules, amongst other measures. Reduced maritime activity has led to an interruption of international supply chains, which are vital for the export of the country’s cacao and coffee and for the import of manufactured products.
Whilst the priority for many countries, including São Tomé and Príncipe, will be to prevent the spread of the virus and to protect livelihoods into the foreseeable future, many commentators are already calling for countries to “build back better,” once the pandemic has passed.
In this vein, green stimulus packages that include strong renewable energy and energy efficiency components have garnered attention as viable options to help countries to meet social, economic and environmental objectives, once the worst of the pandemic has passed.
Arguably, São Tomé and Príncipe already set these foundations a number of years ago when the country developed its 2030 vision: “São Tomé e Príncipe 2030: the country we need to build," which places a strong emphasis on integrating renewable energy and energy efficiency into its energy mix, and moving the country away from its dependence on imported diesel for power generation and transport.
The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), partners of ALER, with funding from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), has been working in partnership with the country’s Ministry of Public Works, Infrastructure, Natural Resources and Environment (MOPIRNA) to help the small island country to implement a project to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency investments in the electricity sector.
The project is being implemented by UNIDO in close collaboration with its partners, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the African Development Bank. With work starting in 2019 and set to end in 2023, the partners are helping São Tomé and Príncipe to realize its 2030 vision, working to transform the country into a climate-resilient and vibrant island hub for blue economy businesses, financial services and tourism.
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Source © UNIDO