Energy access is the “golden thread” that weaves together economic growth, human development and environmental sustainability. The adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, and the adoption of SDG 7.1 specifically – the goal to ensure access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy for all by 2030 – established a new level of political recognition for energy’s central role in development.
Improvements in technologies are offering new opportunities for making significant progress on the SDG goal on electricity access. The combination of declining costs for solar and decentralised solutions, cheaper and more efficient lighting and appliances, and new business models making use of digital, mobile-enabled platforms has increased the number of available solutions to cater to those currently without electricity access. But many challenges remain, particularly for clean cooking.
(Afdb, Jan 2018)
In line with its High 5 development priorities and, in particular, its agenda to Light up and power Africa, the African Development Bank plans to reach 29.3 million people in Africa with electricity by 2020.
The President of the Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, made this disclosure at the High Level Event on “New Way of Working: From Vision to Action-National, Regional and Global Dimensions” at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Sunday. He pledged support for the New Way of Working as “crucially important” and indicated that it requires a new way of tackling development issues.
(TheBeamMagazine, Jan 2018)
As we start 2018, there is good news and bad news for Africa’s energy. First, the bad news. There is a lot to do. An estimated 600 million Africans do not have access to electricity that would allow them to be productive contributors to the economy. Roughly the same number of Africans also lack access to clean cooking fuels. The good news is that the solutions are not beyond our reach; we simply need technology, policy and finance to work together. Embracing integration and the moment, stopping the harmful subsidies and laying the table (policy environment) will help move forward faster. Africa is rising indeed, but it cannot rise in the dark.
As off-grid technology costs keep falling, the International Energy Agency (IEA) recently estimated that by 2030, 195 million people, or 29% of the world’s unelectrified population, will gain electricity from off-grid solutions, especially off-grid solar.