1 of October 2018

'Guinea Bissau is a country of great opportunities!'

Guinea Bissau is a country of great opportunities. The participation and integration of African societies and economies in the regional and sub-regional economy is experiencing a slow acceleration. Taking advantage of a strong agricultural base and vast natural resources, the industrialisation and service sector development, for example through innovations such as mobile banking services, are creating employment and well-being for the Guinean people.

None of this would be possible without access to reliable energy at an affordable price. Energy is a prerequisite for economic activity and for human development, in the same way as water supply, health, education and leisure activities.

Guinea Bissau has seen some progress in building its energy infrastructure. However, vast areas of Guinea Bissau remain literally in the dark. Rural electrification has reached dozens of communities through the expansion of mini-grids and the projected construction of the national grid. However, geography and technology dictate that there are economic limits to advancing power grids, considering the available alternatives. Though, so far, few mini-grids have been successfully implemented in Africa in general and in Guinea Bissau in particular. As a result, experience in terms of technical skills and the provision of the necessary regulatory conditions are still limited. The acceleration of the mini-grid implementation could play an important role in meeting the continent's growing energy needs.

It will not be possible to offer access to modern and sustainable energy services to the entire Guinean population without a greater contribution of the private sector and the application of sectoral laws and regulations. The adoption of the national plans for renewable energy and energy efficiency, implementation of the action agenda and other instruments, such as prospective investment and the international statutes linked to renewable energies (SIDS-DOCK, IRENA, ISA), are thus indispensable. The successful development of the sector will moreover not be possible without a regulatory framework for concessions and homogeneous rules and tariffs. It is widely acknowledged that the energy sector urgently needs capital and private investment to complement scarce public resources. However, the private sector will not commit to investments until minimum requirements in terms of a stable and attractive regulatory environment are met.

This set of renewable energy policy instruments thus provides a necessary guidance for policy makers, helping to define the policies needed to effectively promote the implementation of just and adequate electrification. The mentioned set of instruments is the tangible result of the Guinea- Bissau Energy partnership with UNIDO, GEF, ALER and others, founded under the GEF/UNIDO project for cooperation in Renewable Energies. GEF/UNIDO has proven to be an important complementary initiative for the regional priority actor, the programme for the development of transmission and distribution infrastructure. UNIDO provides broad and valuable support targeting the development of opportunities in the field of small and medium-scale renewable energy projects. Guinea Bissau appreciates these efforts and remains committed to supporting and facilitating the promotion of an enabling environment for the renewable energy market in the country.

State Secretary of Energy

Eng. João Saad