The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was this week clamouring for a sea-change in the world’s power play saying it is ready to play host to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) at the same time adding that it is geared up to pump money in the form of investments into the Sub-Sahara region.
The UAE spokesperson, Ghaleb Cachalia, told Sunday Standard Thursday that they have “the financial and technical know-how” to be the first country to headquarter the office of IRENA.
Hi comments come ahead of the June conference that will be held in Egypt where the 76 member states of IRENA are expected to choose the interim headquarters of the organization.
So far, two countries, Germany and UAE are vying to host the headquarters.
“We have the first zeroÔÇôcarbon, zero-waste city which is the first of its kind in the world. It is not a matter of a country saying can we have this,” he said.
The UAE is putting forward Masdar City ÔÇöthe zero-carbon and the zero-waste city powered by renewable energy as a viable candidate to host the interim and, ultimately, the final headquarters of IRENA.
The move comes at a time when the world is looking at alternative energy measures that do not contribute to global warming to foster the world’s developments going forward.
“The majority of this energy related organisation’s headquarters are based in the West. But we also have the financial and technical capability to do that,” he said.
Cachalia was in Gaborone on Thursday to try to lobby the Southern African Development Community (SADC) secretariat and also met with the Minerals, Energy and Water Affairs Minister, Ponatshego Kedikilwe.
“We think that the IRENA initiative dove-tails well with SADC initiative to have renewable energy to foster developments and in Botswana we met the minister who wants to understand the benefits and the terms of joining IRENA,” Cachalia said.
The 76-member states of IRENA are due to meet in Egypt in June this year to elect the country that will host the interim headquarters and if the UAE wins it will be the first time for an international agency to be headquartered in the Arab world. UAE presents a number of strategic positions for being easily accessible to around 100 capital cities within a flight period of six hours.
It also boosts of renewable energy technology and has access to sovereign funds built out of oil wealth.
“We are a country with technology which is backed by financial muscle. We are interested in banking and construction in Sub Sahara Africa,” he said.
The oil-rich UAE has for some time been involved in North Africa through its war chest, Sovereign Wealth Funds, built from the oil wells.
“We think our proposal represent a tangible bid to house this in the UAE,” he added.
IRENA is an international organization, which was formed in January this year at a conference held in Bonn , Germany.
IRENA is expected to advance the course of renewable energy by sharing knowledge and the necessary frame-work with a view to adopting large scale renewable energy initiatives around the world.
The issue of renewable energy is fast gaining an international currency with the current USA administration trying to look at other forms of alternative energy aimed at saving the planet and shifting reliance from oil.