Published on March 14th, 2017 | by Joshua S Hill0
Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel Calls For Massive Investment Boost For African Energy
March 14th, 2017 by Joshua S Hill
A new report from former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Africa Progress Panel has called for a “significant boost” in investment to help African governments and their partners to “bridge the continent’s huge energy gap.”
The new report, Lights Power Action: Electrifying Africa, was launched Monday at the African Development Bank headquarters in Abidjan by the Africa Progress Panel, the brainchild of the former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan. The report highlights the massive energy gap currently afflicting the continent of Africa, and calls for a “significant boost” in investment across a range of solutions that it believes can help Africa solve an energy crisis that has resulted in millions across the continent without any access to electricity.
Over 620 million Africans currently live without access to electricity. The Africa Progress Panel therefore believes that grid-connected “megaprojects” such as large-scale hydroelectricity dams and power pools are essential to scaling up national and regional electricity generation and transmission. However, these methods are “slow and expensive,” which means that African governments must also look to increase investments in off-grid and mini-grid solutions, which are cheaper and quicker to install.
“What we are advocating is for African governments to harness every available option, in as cost-effective and technologically efficient a manner as possible, so that everyone is included and no one is left behind,” said Kofi Annan, chair of the Africa Progress Panel.
The importance of off-grid technologies cannot be understated for Africa. Of the 315 million people who are expected to gain access to electricity in Africa’s rural areas by 2040, it is predicted that only 30% will gain access to national grid-connected electricity — most relying on off-grid household or mini-grid systems.
“Traditional approaches to extending the grid are no longer viable as the main option for African countries,” continued Mr. Annan. “They will take too long and will not meet the needs of our growing economies and societies. Instead, governments and their partners need to seize the opportunity to re-imagine their energy futures.”
The report both urges governments to foster the right environment for large-scale investments into off-grid energy technologies, but also outlines the kind of policies that will foster such an environment.
“As our new report shows, where there is good leadership, there are excellent prospects for energy transition,” Mr. Annan said. “We know what is needed to reduce and ultimately eliminate Africa’s energy deficit. Now we must focus on implementation. The time for excuses is over. It’s time for action.”