Energy Transition

Dozens of energy ministers gathered at the #SpecialMeeting24. Here’s what they said

Kadri Simson, EU Commissioner for Energy, and H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia, speak on a panel. Image: World Economic Forum

Spencer Feingold
Digital Editor, World Economic Forum Geneva
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  • There is an urgent need for a clean energy transition worldwide.
  • Leading energy experts from the public and private sectors gathered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to address the issue.
  • The gathering included dozens of energy ministers from around the world.

As global warming continues at critical rates and energy access disparities persist, experts are increasingly sounding the alarm around the need to accelerate a sustainable and comprehensive energy transition.

Catalysing the energy transition was a central theme of the World Economic Forum’s Special Meeting on Global Collaboration, Growth and Energy for Development, which took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from 28-29 April. The gathering convened leading energy experts from across sectors to identify financial, technological and policy solutions aimed at scaling up the use of clean energy solutions while ensuring equitable growth.

The meeting was also attended by dozens of energy ministers and commissioners from around the world, many of whom participated in public sessions.

Here are some key insights from what they said:

H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Minister of Energy, Saudi Arabia

In a public session, H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Minister of Energy of Saudi Arabia, spoke about the need to advance an equitable and financially viable energy transition. He also stressed the need for a global and universal approach so that no one gets left behind — especially those in developing economies.

“The climate change issue and sustainability is a global issue,” he said. “It cannot be attended to in regional scopes or as a smaller territorial thing. It has to be global.”

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Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalization, African Union Commission

In a public session on the rise of green molecules, Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure, Energy and Digitalization at the African Union Commission, spoke about the need for universal energy access, especially in emerging markets in Africa.

Abou-Zeid also stressed the need to pursue new fuel types such as biofuel, hydrogen and their derivatives. “We cannot afford to disregard any solution,” she said. “All solutions out there must be harnessed by the continent.”

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Ahn Dukgeun, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy, Republic of Korea

In a public session on how domestic politics and geopolitical divides are impacting trade policy, Ahn Dukgeun, Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea, spoke about how governments are increasingly using industrial policy to compete with each other — especially around critical sectors like artificial intelligence and the semiconductor industry.

“When major countries are pouring huge government resources into developing a strategically important sector, then many more countries will follow suit,” he said. “Then we are in a very dangerous phase of industrial competition.”

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Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy, European Commission

In a public session, Kadri Simson, Commissioner for Energy of the European Commission, spoke about Europe’s efforts to diversify its energy sources—particularly after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—and accelerate its adoption of renewables like wind and solar.

“These past two years have been a record year for renewables,” she said, noting that new wind and solar installations across Europe have helped the region reduce gas consumption significantly. Simson added that the EU also plans to make further investments in grid infrastructure.

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Saad bin Sherida Al-Kaabi, Minister of State for Energy Affairs, Qatar

In a public session, Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Minister of State for Energy Affairs of Qatar, spoke about the need for energy security for future generations and the importance of advancing a “responsible” energy transition.

Al-Kaabi added that the oil and gas industry still supplies a great deal of the global energy supply, noting that “demand is going to be there for a very, very long time.”

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Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, UAE

In a public session, Suhail Mohamed Faraj Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Infrastructure of the United Arab Emirates, spoke about accelerating the adoption of renewable energy sources. Al Mazrouei also discussed the need for proper financing and mechanisms to ensure business viability.

“The cost of finance depends on the whole country economy,” he said. “If you are diversifying and your economy is good, then you will find that the cost of financing will be reasonable.”

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Fatma Thabet Chiboub, Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy, Tunisia

In a public session, Fatma Thabet Chiboub, Minister of Industry, Mines and Energy of Tunisia, spoke about energy costs and efforts to development of energy-saving mechanisms.

“This has become national priority for Tunisia since the cost of supplying energy has been increasing,” she said, adding that Tunisia is also increasing its use of renewable energy sources.

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Arifin Tasrif, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Indonesia

In a public session, Arifin Tasrif, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia, spoke about the need to secure energy for his country's large population and Indonesia's use of several different energy sources.

“We were blessed with many types of renewable energies,” Tasrif said, citing Indonesia's geothermal, hydro and solar energy capabilities.

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Other energy ministers and leading energy officials who participated in the Special Meeting include the following:

Saleh Al-Kharabsheh, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources of Jordan; Almassadam Satkaliyev, Minister of Energy of Kazakhstan; Ibrahim Matola, Minister of Energy of Malawi; Victor Parlicov, Minister of Energy of Moldova; Musadik Malik, Minister of Energy of Pakistan; Moheiddin Naeem Mohamed Saeed, Minister of Energy and Petroleum of Sudan; Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Minister for Energy of Ghana; Salem Alhajraf, Minister of Electricity, Water and Renewable Energy of Kuwait; Nany Ould Chrougha, Minister of Petroleum, Mines and Energy of Mauritania; Zakaria Hachlaf, Secretary-General, Department of Sustainable Development of Morocco; He Yang, Vice-Administrator, National Energy Administration, People's Republic of China; Joseph McMonigle, Secretary-General, International Energy Forum; Adeeb Al-Aama, Deputy Minister for Saudi Affairs in OPEC and International Oil Markets; Mohammed Albrahim, Assistant Minister for Oil and Gas of Saudi Arabia; Orkhan Zeynalov; Deputy Minister of Energy of Azerbaijan; and HE Mohsin Bin Hamad Al Hadhrami, Undersecretary of Energy and Minerals of Oman.

For more on energy for development, read the deep dive and live coverage here.

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