EU Encourage African SMEs to become Competitive through Energy Efficiency

THE European Union is taking a lead in supporting the promotion of energy efficiency both at home and abroad and are currently in Gaborone, Botswana, promoting energy efficiency.

Head of Delegation of the European Union to Botswana and the SADC region, Mr Paul Malin echoed these sentiments at a regional workshop on energy efficiency hosted by the Centre for the Development of Enterprise (CDE) in Gaborone yesterday.

The workshop, which sought to increase awareness of sound energy management principles and measures in four Southern African countries (Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Mozambique), has already brought on board 20 Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

Mr Malin said the EU understands that climate change and the economic challenges the world is facing can only be tackled by collaborative actions reaching across the borders.

This, he explained, is why the EU joined the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation, which recognises that improving energy saving and energy efficiency is one of the quickest, greenest and most cost-effective ways to address energy security, climate change and economic growth.

In addition, he noted that the partnership also recognises that all countries share common interests for improving their energy efficiency performance and that the developed countries need to play an important role in cooperation with the developing countries.

This, he maintained, will accelerate dissemination and transfer of best practices and efficient technologies and supporting capacity building in the developing countries, which will contribute to the improvement of energy efficiency at a global level.

Mr Malin also stated that the CDE, an institution of the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries partnership, is also contributing and adding value through putting in place systems for realizing energy efficiency in SMEs.

The CDE programme, he observed, contributes to better efficiency, productivity and ultimately more profitability.

The EU Ambassador explained that the CDE has given SMEs an analysis of how they can take control of their energy consumption and in some cases, drastically reduce cost structures.

This, he noted, is complimentary to the EUs efforts through the International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation and the ACP-EU Energy Facility.

He mentioned that the project has sought to give companies the tools to be leaders in the new economy and urged them to seize the opportunity and show leadership in energy efficiency.

Such leadership, he asserted, deserves support from the governments of the region, donor agencies, financial institutions and international partners.

The Head of the CDE Regional office for Southern Africa, Mr Sid Boubekeur noted that SMEs face challenges in competitiveness enhancement to meet the expectations of regional economic integration agenda and EPAs, when trying to access both regional and international markets.
In order to increase access to the markets, SMEs, he highlighted, need to reduce production costs and energy is one such cost.

Wednesday 31st March 2010

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