A call has gone to African leaders and investors to shift focus towards harnessing the continent’s renewable energy sources.
Although the continent’s potential remain high, Africa’s energy transition would require an estimated $100 billion yearly between 2020 and 2040.
This was the thrust of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, while addressing participants at the recently concluded Ninth Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, hosted by the German Government.
According to the AfDB helmsman, there was an urgent need to reduce the world’s dependence on fossil fuels and harness Africa’s renewable energy sources. While underscoring Africa’s success and enormous potential to become a global leader in sustainable development, Adesina did not fail to note the significant energy challenges confronting the African continent.
Sighting a reviewed 2022 report, he said at least 600 million people did not have access to electricity, while 970 million people lacked access to clean energy for cooking.
He warned that for Africa to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), seven of affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, Africa must connect 90 million people yearly to electricity by 2030. Besides, the continent must also remove 130 million people from dirty cooking fuels yearly.
According to him, Africa’s significant cobalt, manganese and platinum reserves could be utilised to build a robust manufacturing sector rather than being merely exported as raw materials. Alluding to Europe’s push for emissions-free vehicles, he said: “Africa is a crucial source for minerals and metals for clean energy value chains, including electric vehicles and utility-scale battery storage. Africa is the perfect place to build lithium-ion batteries to power German cars,” he said.
Adesina reiterated that AfDB was spearheading efforts to unlock Africa’s vast renewable energy potential, with 86 per cent of its power generation investments in renewables and a ban on coal energy projects.
He insisted that natural gas should be crucial to Africa’s diversified energy mix to guarantee a secure energy supply for industries and residences.
Africa, just like Germany and Europe, must be given time to transition and be allowed to use its natural gas resources as a transition fuel. While Africa will do everything possible to expand the use of renewable energy, the intermittency sources, such as wind and solar, made it impossible to guarantee the security of supply. Natural gas is, therefore, a key part of the energy mix for assuring the security of supply and critical for Africa,” he said.
In similar vein, the Kenyan President, William Ruto, while speaking urged the audience to rise to the challenge of genuine partnership to address the climate crisis and break the cycle of dependence that had plagued Africa for decades.
Also, the German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock, said the energy transition was primarily about the security and global security depended on getting away from fossil fuels.
The annual Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue is a joint initiative of the German Renewable Energy Federation, the German Solar Association, the German Energy Agency, and consulting firm eclareon. The forum draws a wide range of prominent participants from the energy sector.
Source; The Nation