Recognizing the importance of the central role that can be played by small and medium enterprises to contribute to securing sustainable energy supply as a strategic priority for the achievement of economic and social development in all Arab countries;
In correlation with the initiative launched by the first Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Kuwait, in January 2009, to support small and medium enterprises in the Arab countries, through a special fund allocated to support small and medium enterprises, as a way to create jobs and encourage entrepreneurial skills among young Arabs, and attract investment to develop and promote markets renewable energy and energy efficiency markets.
Based on the “Arab strategy for the Development of Renewable Energy 2010-2030”, which was adopted at the Arab Economic and Social Development Summit in Riyadh 2013, and the Summit Declaration which called for expanding the use of renewable energy in the total energy mix:
In response to the outputs of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held in June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, most importantly the document titled “The future to which we aspire,” and the subsequent activities aiming to set a new international and regional agenda for development beyond 2015, will ensure a comprehensive set of sustainable development goals towards a green economy, as well as the initiative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations “sustainable Energy for All by 2030”;
The confirmation by the Arab, regional and global institutions on the crucial role and need of SMEs to diversify energy sources and improving its efficiency, and achieving sustainable development at the national and regional level.
The League of Arab States organized the Second Arab Forum for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in collaboration with the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy in the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Committee of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), the Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (RCREEE), and the project of Euro-Mediterranean Energy Efficiency in Industry construction area of the Mediterranean (MED-ENEC) which is funded by the European Union, on 18-19 June 2014 in the beautiful resort of El Gouna, Egypt. The objective was to explore the role that can be performed by SMEs in the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Arab region, especially in the rural areas, and the mechanisms needed to promote this role;
Stemming from the will of the organizers, participants, official delegations of the Member States of the Arab League, the bodies and national institutions working in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency, representatives of small and medium enterprises, stakeholders in the industry, project developers and technology providers, representatives of organizations and projects, regional and global meeting in Hurghada in the framework of the activities of the Arab Forum for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, held under the theme “Enhancing the role of small and medium enterprises in the deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Arab region” to capitalize on the opportunities presented and that have emerged due to the activities of this forum;
We emphasize our unified vision on the importance of spreading the application of renewable energy and energy efficiency in the Arab States, and our commitment to support the integration of SMEs to engage in these areas on a larger scale, not only as a solution to help meet the growing demand for energy or to provide technical support and services with economical, technical and environmental for various sectors but also as a strategic option for the elimination of poverty and unemployment, and to contribute to sustainable development. In addition, the role of these institutions to increase industrial added value, support national industries and improve the efficiency, productivity and innovation as well as its contribution to the diversification of the economic structure and competitiveness of the productive sector.
We seek to achieve this by taking into account the action plans and programs set by each party involved, towards more cooperation and coordination, to overcome the hurdles hindering progress such as:
Lack of a long-term strategic vision embracing the development of SMEs at the economical, social and environmental levels in the context of a comprehensive development framework that includes economic growth, energy conservation, and creating new job opportunities for the youth.
limited integration and convergence in policies related to industry and energy-related counterpart, especially regarding the development of the role of national institutions operating in the small and medium enterprises in all sectors of renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The absence of collaboration between the regulatory and legislative frameworks on one hand, and the goals and needs of the development of industries and services in the renewable energy and energy efficiency on the other.
Lack of appropriate incentives to effectively promote the use of renewable energy and to support energy efficiency programs;
Inadequacy of the business environment, laws and legislation, and the difficulty of access to banking and financial services due to weak infrastructure of banks, and the difficulty of obtaining financing, guarantees and the lack of expertise in managing projects.
Lack of information and transparency in the financial and banking sectors.
The low prevalence of a culture of entrepreneurship, innovation and the lack of adequate protection for intellectual property rights.
We will work on the transfer of best practices and lessons learned from the experiences of other countries whom have succeeded in this area, set the possible solutions to overcome these challenges in order to assist with the deployment of technologies conducive for the success of renewable energy and support programs and services designed for energy efficiency, so that the investment in this sector will prove to be an added value at the national and regional levels, and in line with the present conditions in the Arab region, which may include:
Study the market condition of small and medium enterprises in the region in terms of capabilities and opportunities in the areas of renewable energy, energy efficiency and sustainable energy systems in general, with the development of an institutional framework that regulates the work of small and medium enterprises in the region;
Indicators reflecting the growth curve of investments in the renewable energy and energy efficiency sector and its impact on SMEs and their effect on job creation and methodologies for monitoring and evaluation of these effects in the Arab region in particular;
Adoption of a regional dialogue about the industry and business environment of renewable energy and energy efficiency;
A comprehensive report about the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the field of renewable energy and energy efficiency
Activating the role of policy research, development and innovation to support SMEs:
Support Arab cooperation and the prerequisite requirements for the establishment of an integrated market for renewable energy and energy efficiency in the context of competitiveness;
We call on the Arab League to adopt the following procedures and fully apply them in the Arab countries in cooperation with other regional and international organizations in order to pave the way for a road map, possibly referred to as “ideas to innovation” which should start by agreeing on a specific definition for small and medium enterprises:
Aligning the policies drafted for the energy sector, industry, investments and environment so as to ensure the creation of a business climate attractive for investments and is transparent.
The development of innovative financing tools leads to risk mitigation in a more balanced methodology among all the stakeholders in the lending market.
Building National capacities and raising awareness and nurturing a culture for private business among the Youth;
The development of services such as providing information and the assessment of the creditworthiness of borrowers;
Establishing special programs to provide technical and logistical support for the small and medium enterprises, including providing a guideline publication for small investors to assist them to translate their ideas into projects:
Improve access to information and knowledge based on modern communication technologies:
Encourage transparency and disclosure in the financial sector and the Arab business;
Capitalize on the various sources of funding available in the Arab Financial Institutions and the regional funds allocated to the Small and Medium Industries;
Regional coordination between existing organizations and actors to promote the exchange of experiences and integrate enabling procedures for SMEs to contribute to the achievement of the objectives of the Arab strategy for renewable energy in particular, and the goals of sustainable development in general;
Instating mechanism to elaborate the partnerships between SMEs representing the private sector, government agencies and large enterprises:
Study the possibility of setting up a mechanism for cooperation and exchange of experiences between the Arab countries, through scientific research centers for the promotion of research and development in the field of localization of renewable energy technologies and energy efficiency, and innovation development while providing an appropriate and adequate infrastructure to serve the actual needs of the markets now and in the future;
Work on development the Arab manufacturing capabilities in order to achieve Arab integration:
Developing the Arabic database for renewable energy and energy efficiency, which is a joint effort between the Arab League, Regional Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency and ESCWA. This joint effort ensures the inclusion of the SMEs and the services and products rendered in the fields of sustainable energy at the level of all Arab countries.
Issued in the Governate of Hurghada, Arab republic of Egypt,