While, internationally, the most visible push in the energy-development area is to eradicate poverty through increased access, middle-income developing countries face another challenge that resonates more for them domestically and also presents even bigger energy needs: how to acquire increasing amounts of energy to fuel continuing robust economic growth and avoid the middle income trap. The energy ministers of countries that have seen major development gains, from Chile to China, from Vietnam to Peru, are tasked with building a bigger, more secure and cost-effective energy system to support continued economic expansion -- often following a period of successful poverty eradication and overall growth that can present its own set of challenges for governments as they seek to find sources of future economic advancement.

The Energy for Development research initiative at the Center on Global Energy Policy hosted a panel that brought together former energy ministers to provide their insights into this challenge of energy for growth in the middle-income country context. The panel comprised Ricardo Jorge Raineri Bernain, past President of International Association for Energy Economics and former Minister of Energy of Chile, and Pedro Sanchez, Lead Energy Specialist at the World Bank and former Minister of Energy of Peru. The event was moderated by Adjunct Senior Research Scholar Philippe Benoit, who leads CGEP’s energy for development work program.