Nairobi Declaration set the right tone for Africa’s renewable energy dream

31 October, 2023

Posted by: Victor Odhiambo

Nairobi Declaration set the right tone for Africa’s renewable energy dream

Category : Power Shift in the News | tags: Business Daily


The Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi delivered a major boost for the continent's sustainable development ambitions by pledging to increase renewable energy generation from the current 56 GW to 300 GW by 2030 and push the international community to inject 20 percent of the $3 trillion global renewable war chest into Africa’s energy projects.

But it is the resolve to focus Africa’s development plans on climate-positive growth, including expansion of just energy transitions and renewable energy generation for industrial activity, and restorative agricultural practices, that was the real win of the Nairobi Declaration.

Having every African economy embark on efforts to scale up renewable energy development aligns with the goal of universal energy access for all Africans by 2030. There is a solid case for this.

Africa has a population of more than one billion people, the majority of them youth, abundant renewable energy resources and diverse economies.

This makes the attainment of the dream of universal access to renewable, affordable, reliable and sustainable energy for all, even more urgent.

The story of energy access in Africa is one of tragedy. The rate of access varies both within and between countries, with the rural folk having the lowest access to electricity, at an average of 25 percent.

Even African countries that have been extracting oil for nearly sixty years do not fare better in energy access. Indeed, some of them have the lowest electricity access. In Angola, for instance, only about 40 percent of the people have access to electricity.

In others, the social and economic well-being remains in shambles. Arguably, every barrel of oil extracted has led to further entrenchment into debt and poverty among these African countries.

Nigeria, for instance, is currently experiencing a food inflation crisis of 29 percent, with the situation expected to worsen in the coming years.

The West African country, and Africa’s largest oil exporter, is also in a deteriorating climate situation, with floods and drought plaguing it. The class divide in Nigeria is also one of the steepest in the world.

It would, therefore, be disastrous for the continent to continue investing its limited resources in an oil-driven energy system that has historically failed hundreds of millions of her people.

The writer leads Just Transitions at climate think tank, Power Shift Africa.

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