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World Bank VP, Oteh, others on clean energy revolution mission

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As African Investment Roundtable charts path for a timely transition

Stakeholders have called for a speedy revolution in sustainable clean energy in sub-Saharan Africa to unlock economic potential and enable the continent to play a lead role in global action for sustainable investment.

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Treasurer and Vice-President of the World Bank Group, Jingdong Hua, noted that the pandemic has reinforced the importance of multilateralism and global development agenda, adding that it was high time sustainability was given the deserved attention.
 
Also speaking at the second edition of the African Investment Roundtable session themed ‘Sustainability – en route to COP26’, the Vice President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Kelvin Kariuki said that Africa accounts for only six per cent of global energy demand. 
  
“Sustainable development in Africa can only happen with access to reliable, affordable sustainable energy. Increasing sustainable energy services in Africa offers opportunities to progress in many dimensions of development, including alleviating poverty, enhancing food security, creating new jobs, and fostering education and gender equality.
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“Clean energy solutions are also essential to reduce pollution and environmental degradation, provide access to water and sanitation, improve human health and protect ecosystems while contributing to tackling climate change and enhancing resilience,” he said.
   
Kariuki argued that the continent has the lowest per capita electricity consumption in the world. He noted that out of 790 million people without access to electricity globally, 465 million or 72 per cent are Africans.
  
“The level of energy poverty is also demonstrated in the fact that 900 million people across Africa lack access to clean cooking facilities which exclude them from economic and health benefits that come with access to clean cooking. We cannot by any state of imagination to be proud of the statistics.
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“This is because lack of access to electricity constrains access to modern economic activities, limits the provision of public services and hampers improvement in the quality of lives of the people. Africa must therefore significantly increase its energy and electricity access to emerge from this energy poverty and be on the path to achieving sustainable development goals.”
 
He noted that Africa has vast and unexploited cleaner energy resources that could be harnessed to transition the continent to cleaner energy. 
  
The Chief Executive Officer of FMDQ Securities Exchange, Bola Onadele said there is a need for collective efforts towards tackling carbon emission in Africa.
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“We need to think of the profile of Africa to appreciate the importance of sustainability. In a continent of over 200 million, 60 per cent between the ages of 15 to 24 are jobless. Also, 50 per cent of Africans have no access to health care while one out of three lives in extreme poverty. With this profile and challenges, there is a need for sustainability.
 
“Its contribution to carbon emission is low but the impact on Africa is high. If we look at Africa issues, if we do not come together to fix it collectively, it would be more challenging in future,” he said.
    
A co-founder of AiR and ex-Director-General, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Arunma Oteh, said there is a need to step up mobilisation of private investments for clean energy infrastructure to derive the full benefits of the transition.
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She added that such a revolution can only be achieved through effective energy governance at a national, regional and global level.
   
“There is a need to mobilise all the savings which are growing in leaps and bounds. Governance issues are also important because even when savings are being accessed, people are looking at governance issues too.”
   
The Group Chief Executive Officer of Emerging Africa Capital Group and co-founder of AiR, Toyin Sanni said the revolution would help create opportunities for those excluded economically in the continent.
    
“It is important to note that up to 91 per cent of investors are concerned about the level of sustainability when they want to invest in a particular clime. We need to create an opportunity for those that are economically excluded in Africa.”
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AfricaEnergyWorld Bank
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