Energy Africa launched to enhance access to power
By GIFT NDOLWANE
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – THE United Kingdom has launched a new campaign, Energy Africa, to promote access to electricity to millions of people in the continent.
The Energy Africa initiative is envisaged to help bring universal energy access in the continent forward from the year 2080 to 2030.
United Kingdom International Development Minister, Grant Shapps, expressed concern at the prevalent lack of access to electricity in Africa.
Some 621 million Africans live without access to electricity.
“It is shocking that around two out of three of the African population have no electricity in their homes. This not only holds back individuals, but entire nations. It prevents businesses from trading and holds back economic growth – indeed outages cost African countries 1,2 percent of their annual GDP,” he said.
He was confident people’s lives could be transformed with the installation of solar panel systems.
“The technology is there – all we have to do is remove the barriers stifling the market. This is what Energy Africa will help do. It has the power to help millions of Africans lift themselves out of poverty and transform the prospects of an entire continent – something that is good for Africa but good for Britain too.”
Shapps said Energy Africa would take on the inefficient markets, policy barriers and underinvestment which mean that Africans pay as much as 66 times more for their electricity than someone in his country. This would be achieves through increasing support to the sector, decreasing cost of solar photovoltaic panels, improvements in battery
technology and the spread of mobile payment systems.
The campaign will involve key stakeholders including African Governments,donors, investors and lenders, industry, NGOs, and the public.
Leaders including Nigeria Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, Chair of Africa Progress Panel and Former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, African Union Commission Chairperson, Nkosazana-Dlamini adame Zuma, and the activist Bob Geldof attended the launch.
– CAJ News
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