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Remarks by H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdogan
at the Opening of the G20 Energy Ministers Meeting

Grand Tarabya Hotel, Istanbul, October 2, 2015
Unofficial transcript

Mr. Ministers, distinguished representatives of the energy community I would like to greet you all cordially. We hope this platform and meeting will bring benefits to us and the whole world. This is the first meeting of energy ministers in the history of the G20. I would like to stress how pleased we are to be hosting this meeting.

Here we bring together in the G20 the most important producers and consumers of energy in the world, and we hope this meeting proves successful. As you know, the G20 is 85% of the global economy, 75% of global trade and one third of the world's population. It is the most important platform. The emerging economies and advanced economies come together and put their heads together to deal with the challenges of the word.

Since 2008 G20 has taken steps to deal with the global crisis and to build resilience for the global system, and these steps have been useful. Since 2008 I have been taking part in the G20 meetings and have had a chance to follow where we started and where we have ended. With financial and macroeconomic issues we have more coordination today, and we can say the G20 has played the major role. We have taken measures to prevent further crises and have more global cooperation that is more institutional. In the G20 today, our main issue is to build a strong, sustainable and comprehensive growth.

When I became president of the G20 as the leader of Turkey, we said we would have three themes: implementation, investment and inclusion. At the national and the global levels, if you want to have strong economic growth you need to have stability and trust. That is what we believe. In the last 13 years these have been the pillars of economic growth of Turkey. Therefore all commitments made have to be implemented. As the G20, last year we adopted growth strategies. If we implement these growth strategies we will have 2.1% additional growth by 2018. This will bring US$2 trillion to the global economy. This year we prepared a very concrete schedule for these strategies, and we plan to adopt this schedule at Antalya. This will show we will keep our promise and will follow up with our decisions, and that will be shown to the world.

We see there is a need to incentivize investment in infrastructure. Therefore, as a result of our observations we thought one of our focal points of the presidency would be investments. Maybe the figures seem exaggerated and too ambitious to you, but I think it's clear we can do it. Until 2030 the need for global infrastructure is in the range of $70 to 90 trillion. For Asia from 2010 to 2020 the need for infrastructure investment is $8 trillion. The developing countries also make $1.5 trillion of infrastructure investment per year in order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals. This shows us that infrastructure investment has to be supported locally, so that we should renew our approach to development.

We need to have financing, and today the public and private sectors have to coordinate their efforts. In Turkey we have established a public-private joing investments and have seen good results. If you want to do it alone with only public budget, you cannot succeed. The dynamism of the private sector can help meet the needs of the public and together with a fruitful cooperation we can invigorate the projects. The public sector has to let go and should not be jealous and think the private sector should not earn more or have a share as well. We cannot have that mentality. We need to help each other and share the load.

The main issue in infrastructure is not financing but earning the trust of the private sector. Here in the private sector, especially in the finance sector, people should not be too jealous. The investors are under pressure and that creates a barrier, so we need to open the way for national investors as well, so the national and the local should be given priority.

We ask the G20 to have these concrete strategies. Hence at Antalya we will take up all our strategies together. The decisions we take there will create additional momentum for economic growth, especially with infrastructure and investment of energy infrastructure we believe we need to be more careful, because most of the global infrastructure we required energy infrastructure investments constitute most of the global infrastructure needs.

The International Energy Agency projects a $48 billion need for infrastructure by 2025, so it's obvious the demand for energy will increase, as technology increases. We need energy for that, and we need to diversify. Therefore, we need research, research, and research, especially for developing countries. As they integrate into the global economy, we know that the need for energy will increase considerably. So the energy investment we make today will prevent the negative impact for this need in future. So we need that now.

So we have this first meeting of energy ministers. I think it's an accurate decision to tackle energy infrastructure at this junction.

Another important theme of our presidency was inclusiveness. We want resilient, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth. That was one of our priorities, especially considering the need for equal development for women, disadvantaged groups and youth. They need an equal share of economic growth. We want more women taking part in the labour force. That was a theme of our presidency.

Now we're also talking about youth employment. For those less qualified or those young people who are in the unofficial economy, our growth is to reduce the figure to 15% by 2015. This is important for sustainable and strong growth.

We want to reinforce the role of women in the economy. To that end we have created the W20, which I also initiated. So when we talk about inclusiveness we don't think only about G20 strategies but a global inclusiveness.

Throughout our presidency we have tried to represent low-income countries around the world. Today most of the African countries have a good growth rate and they are in some ways higher than most of the developed and even emerging countries. But they have problems, and access to energy is one of the top ones. If you do not have access to energy, we cannot talk about health, education or heating. In the world, we have 1.3 billion people with no access to electricity. This is really a very sad picture. We have electricity we can heat our homes, we can use light during the day or night, so we don't worry about this. You cannot say that. There are 650 million people in sub-Saharan Africa. In other words more than half the population of this continent has no access to electricity and energy.

In the G20 collaboration group energy access is our priority. Because of the urgency of the sub-Saharan Africa region we have focused our actions here. We have African partners and the sustainable energy initiative of the United Nations has been part of our cooperation. Investors and ministers were all present yesterday at our meeting. That meeting was very useful to understand the potential of sub-Saharan Africa. This conference brought together the business world and representatives of the region, and I think it has helped to increase the trust in the region. The action plan we have calls for more coordination and improved investment environment. I believe the action plan will have an important role. You will be given a plan and I hope you will adopt it. As the G20 leaders we will show our support by adopting it in Antalya at the end of the year. In the UN's 2030 agenda I believe energy will play a big role as well. The 2030 agenda will be the most important document to determine the path we will take in the next 15 years. You will prepare an action plan to take to the leaders, which will contribute to the UN agenda.

Another issue we have focused on in inclusiveness was the SMEs integration into the global economy. There have been important issues there too, together the ICC we initiated a chamber here in Istanbul. I thank you all for the establishment of the form. This forum will have the chance to raise the voice globally.

Last year we adopted the G20 energy collaboration principles. This was indeed very important to include energy issues in the agenda and in order to take them further we wanted to see the developments of 2015. I believe you will have further ideas for concrete cooperation. The B20, the first official outreach group of the G20, will help you in that. I have to be clear about this: to increase investment we need to engage in PPPs. The business world and the ministers of energy have to stay in touch. All the G20 will benefit from that and the global economy will benefit that.

As the president of the G20 today, we talked about access to energy, transparency of energy markets, renewables, removing inefficient subsidies for fossil fuels and many other related energy issues. I believe we need a multidimensional approach, especially for the investment and finance dimension of energy. The G20 countries have now the right foundation to improve their cooperation. In the years to come the activity, the we have engaged in has to be expanded to include Asia and other countries.

Another important issue is our struggle against climate change. Our policies on energy will be defining. The year 2015 is critical in that sense, for renewable energy and the improvement of energy efficiency should be our focus. In order to increase the use of energy resources, we have a list of options prepared by the G20, including lower costs for renewable energy sources and better integration of renewables into conventional systems. Continuing this is of utmost importance. I think it's promising to see results. We need to work together on this. For all of the headings you have taken up, the developments that will take place will help increase energy access and energy security.

We need to continue to come together with the energy community, which has been part of a big change and transformation in the market. Energy security has been a big issue in the energy agenda. This process of transformation has seen many countries link the three components of supply, transport and consumption. This requires dialogue and co-operation among the relevant countries. If you don't have a supply country and country for transit and a country as consumer, then you have gaps in he system. All three are vulnerable. If you don't prioritize solidarity, dialogue and cooperation, you cannot reach success in this world. In Nabucco, Turkey was transit and consumer but it was not present as a supplier, because the EU did not implement Nabucco. But on the other hand, you see the trans-Anatolia pipeline. Turkey is a supplier, one of the transit countries is Turkey, and we are also a consumer, so we accelerated the project and now TANAP is moving at full speed. We had solidarity from Azerbaijan, Georgia and the EU and countries that were partners, and we were shoulder and shoulder. We need that and then we can successfully implement what we plan. Last year we adopted the energy principles and they make up the framework. We want to deepen our cooperation. further

We have organized the first energy ministers and we are pleased to see China will continue to hold a meeting of ministers of energy as well. The issue of energy has to be solved globally with win-win strategy. I believe we will succeed.

I wish you all successful meetings and hope you will benefit from the beauty of Istanbul as well and that you can rest a bit in this city.

Note: Unofficial transcript by Madeline Koch, G20 Research Group

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