Vienna: UAE Minister of Energy Mohammad Bin Dha’en Al Hamili has called for developing joint strategies and common approaches to ensure that universal energy access becomes a reality for a growing number of people.
Addressing the three-day Vienna Energy Forum, Al Hamili said: "Access to energy, something most of us take for granted, is not yet a reality for billions of people throughout the world''.
Held under the theme ''Paving the Way for Universal Energy Access'', the meeting is organised by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Austrian Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs and the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA).
''We know from our own experience that economic and social development depend on access to affordable energy. I stress the word affordable because there is no point in having a socket, if you cannot afford to Dav the electricity bill.
The OECD, he explained, has ranked the UAE higher than some of the world's most prominent donor countries primarily because the UAE gives a higher percentage of its GDP than most developed countries.
''Over the years, as our nation increased in wealth, we have allocated a growing proportion of our revenue to international aid projects, particularly in water and energy sectors.
"Overall, during the last three-and-a-half decades, the UAE has contributed more than US$70 billion in loans, grants and assistance for development projects in nearly 100 countries around the world."
Hydroelectric power stations
According to him, the $70 billion given in aid is above and beyond the UAE nfrastructure in developing countries. For example, over the last few decades, Pakistan has built four hydroelectric power stations with support from the emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Water and energy arethe two major prerequisites for development and many of ourprojects involve both.
''In Burkina Faso, we are supporting the construction of the Samandini dam in Deforma province which will eventually help irrigate more than 22,000 hectares and provide hydro-electric power for local communities,'' the UAE minister
Through such actions, he said, the developed world can make tangible impact in the lives of people and communities in developing countries.