‘Nigeria, others exploit renewable primarily for energy access, not transition’
Pan African civil society group, International Support Network for African Development (ISNAD-Africa), has noted that the need for renewable energy development in Nigeria and other African countries requires a different approach from that of their developed counterparts.
Speaking at an event tagged, “Paris Agreement that works for Africa” organised by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Glasgow, United Kingdom, the Executive Director of the organisation, Adedoyin Adeleke stated that while there is need to increase the share of renewable energy in total energy consumption, the priorities for developing and developed countries differ.
Adeleke said: “While developing countries exploit renewable energy for energy transition, developing countries exploit them mostly for energy access,” adding that sub-Saharan Africa countries are taking advantage of the distributed energy generation from renewable energy sources to reduce the ’access deficit’ in the continent.
According to the World Bank, sub-Saharan Africa hosts three-quarter of the global population without energy access. Adedoyin, however, noted that energy access is needed as an end in itself – the effort to exploit renewable energy sources to accelerate energy access is primarily to catalyse development and improve human livelihood.
Reportedly, sub-Saharan Africa has the lowest energy access rates in the world. Less than half of them have access to electricity. About 600 million people lack electricity and 890 million people cook with traditional fuels, according to the International Energy Agency.
In Nigeria, the World Bank noted that electricity access rate was nearly 60 per cent in 2015 with 86 per cent of urban areas and 41 per cent of rural areas with access, while access to non-solid fuels reached only four per cent.
Adedoyin noted that the Paris Agreement that works for Africa would be such that it promotes climate solutions that addresses the socioeconomic challenges of African countries.
He called for integrated efforts towards climate resilience and environmental sustainability with socioeconomic pillars of development – green growth – to make it work better for Africa.
Adedoyin, while co-chairing the launch of the Global Environmental Education Partnership (GEEP) Africa Hub with Prof. Tze-Leun Alan Lin (a member of the Advisory Council to the President of Taiwan on Human Right) cited the significant, yet increasing contributions of youth in Africa towards environmental sustainability and the need to accelerate environmental sustainability through partnership.
Adedoyin highlighted the fact that the climate actions taken today would only have impact in the climate definitions in 20 to 30years when most of the policy and decision makers today are expected to be out of stage. Hence, the need to put the youth at the center of climate decisions today to define the future that humanity will live in.
While appreciating the engagement of youth and youth organisations in various advocacy initiatives for climate resilience and environmental sustainability, ISNAD-Africa advocated that African Youth have more capacity beyond advocacy.
Adedoyin insisted that African youth have capacity to take leadership of the entire scope of environmental sustainability from policy design, innovation, project development, and evaluation, including communication and knowledge sharing.
Speaking on Climate Change and Action in Africa, Adedoyin said: “The challenges of climate change in Africa are under-estimated and the opportunities are underused yet those who hold the solutions lack resources, and those who hold the resources lack the solutions.”
According to him, the 21st century generation are those best suited to take advantage of current innovation and solutions to address climate change.