The Mozambican authorities have electrified 310 small towns through new and renewable sources of energy during the past 10 years, according to the chairman of the government’s Energy Fund (FUNAE), Antonio Saide.

He told the media on the sidelines of a workshop on the financing of renewable energies here Monday that renewables now met 15 per cent of the energy requirements in the country.

“The problem is that the investment in renewable energy is public investment. We want to transform this paradigm by bringing the private sector in as a stakeholder in the discussion on the development of renewable forms of energy,” he added.

Opening the seminar, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Leticia Klemens said investment in electricity, and particularly in renewable energy, favoured the creation of a value chain which was indispensable for sustainable development.

Electricity, she stressed. “is an important catalyst for economic and social development, contributing to the flourishing and growth of industry, increased production, and improvement in living standards”.

Klemens added that at the United Nations climate change conference which ended in Morocco last week, Mozambique, the European Union, and 13 European governments had signed a joint declaration intended to support Mozambique draw up and revise energy policies, design energy projects and promote mobilisation of the private sector in the use of renewable technologies.

“Investment in the energy sector requires the adoption of measures that will allow constant improvement in the capacity to generate, distribute and use in an efficient and sustainable manner the energy produced from a variety of sources,” she said.

“It is not enough to invest in this sector. We must also guarantee that the investment is accompanied by adequate technology and sufficient knowledge, allowing us to make the greatest gains from the technology implanted.”

A background paper from FUNAE and the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) pointed out that Mozambique had abundant, but under-exploited renewable energy resources, including solar, wind, hydro and biomass.

Attracting private sector finance to develop such resources would require the creation of an enabling environment which could attract and absorb the desired level of capital flows for both off-grid and grid-connected renewable energy markets, the paper said.

“Moreover they must work among themselves to engineer and implement policies and financial tools that can mitigate investment risks and help them get beyond the limited financing resources of donor agencies and development finance institutions,” it added.