Climate activists offer path to renewable energy adoption in Africa
As Africa Day held yesterday, activists have canvassed tackling of barriers to community-centred renewable energy systems and phasing out of fossil fuels to check climate impacts on the continent.
They spoke while unveiling findings of a research by 350.org that highlighted obstacles to renewable energy adoption in West Africa.
Among the barriers are lack of awareness, limited technical competence and know-how, investment, lack of tax incentives, absence of local manufacturing and assembly plants and insufficient policy and regulatory frameworks.
The study focused on the state of renewable energy in Benin, Togo, Ghana and Nigeria, underscoring potential areas of intervention to support adoption and foster a just transition in Africa.
It advocated sustainable promotion of renewable energy in the aforementioned countries, by raising awareness of its benefits and opportunities, removal of financial barriers, implementation of enabling policies, encouragement of innovation and research, as well as upskilling of workers.
The investigation was launched, as civil society organisations (CSOs) and grassroots groups, under the Afrika Vuka network, harped on renewable energy as tangible solution to the region’s power and climate crises.
Climate activist and founder of, Global Initiative for Food Security and Ecosystem (GIFSEP), Nigeria, Michael Terungwa, said: “We need safe, reliable and sustainable energy systems to drive our economies. Continued dependence on polluting fossil fuels is not an option for us, as it has resulted in a climate crisis that is devastating communities.”
“Just last year, Nigeria suffered flooding that led to loss of hundreds of lives and displacement of an estimated 1.5 million others. We are counting on the political will of our new leadership to pave the way for the much-needed just transition in Nigeria, by being intentional in implementing relevant policies that create a conducive environment for the adoption of renewable energy.”
Regional Director, 350Africa.org, Landry Ninteretse, observed: “While our continent is sadly on the frontlines of the climate crisis that we have done little to cause, we are fortunate to have access to some of the solutions. Africa’s wealth of renewable energy potential presents a great opportunity for the continent to not only address her energy needs, but also potentially lead the global energy transition.
“What is required are concerted efforts by governments and other stakeholders to address the barriers to renewable energy – starting with finance and policy – by creating an enabling regulatory environment for its adoption, accelerating the shift away from polluting fossil fuels, while investing consistently in powering up community-centred renewable energy solutions that are absolutely critical to ensuring that we avert catastrophic climate impacts and secure a liveable future for us all.”
Raïssa Oureya from the Renewable Energy Coalition (REC) said: “The recently launched REC of grassroots groups in Benin and Togo is geared at advocating adoption of renewable energy in these two countries that have great potential in renewable energy, but still rely heavily on energy imports.
“It’s critical to maintain the push for a sustainable energy future built on renewables to enhance energy security and address the climate crisis. Beyond the launch of this research, we are holding various actions to raise awareness on the role of renewable energy in enhancing sustainable development in the hope that this will spur a much-needed clean energy transition.”