The head of the United Nations agency that promotes industrial development to help countries eradicate poverty today urged Kazakhstan to invest in renewable energy to raise efficiency, boost energy security and tackle climate change.
“As an emerging leader in Central Asia, Kazakhstan needs to promote more exploration in energy sources, including renewable energy,” Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), said during the 3rd Astana Economic Forum, held in the nation’s capital.
“Kazakhstan is rich in both fossil fuels and renewable energy sources, such as hydro, wind, solar, biomass, and geothermal energy,” he noted. “Yet renewable resources currently account for only about one per cent of the nation’s energy balance, and have considerable scope for further development.
He stated that raising energy efficiency and developing renewable energy will help promote energy security and “de-carbonize” the power sector.
“Immense opportunities exist in Central Asia, and particularly in Kazakhstan, that can help address energy and climate issues,” added Mr. Yumkella.
UNIDO and other UN agencies were ready to support the development and deployment of new technologies in Kazakhstan, he said, noting that the country’s population of 15 million requires the expansion of a decentralized energy system to support small and medium-sized enterprises and industries.
While in Kazakhstan, Mr. Yumkella met with President Nursultan Nazarbayev and Prime Minister Karim Masimov, as well as the ministers for industry and new technologies, and environmental protection.
The Director-General welcomed the positive developments in the country, including “Programme 2020” which envisages the diversification of the national economy in the next 10 years.
He noted the ongoing UNIDO project on establishing an investment promotion and technology transfer network for Eurasian economic cooperation.
The agency was ready to help Kazakhstan develop trade capacity, small and medium businesses, offer industrial policy advice and institutional support, and help deal with persistent organic pollutants and ozone depleting substances, said Mr. Yumkella, who also discussed the possibility of opening a UNIDO office in the country.