With COP26 taking place in early-November, global leaders gathered at the final day of the African Energy Week 2021 conference and exhibition to discuss strategies to mitigate climate change and ensure that Africa’s transition to a clean energy future will alleviate energy poverty.
Themed, ‘Africa’s Just Energy Transition: A Roadmap to Ending Energy Poverty by 2030,’ the opening address featured a panel discussion that included members from SustainSolar, GigawattGlobal, Coöperatief U.A., and Mozambique’s Oil and Gas Chamber.
With significant levels of investment required to ensure a just and equitable transition to renewable sources and to make energy poverty history by 2030, the panel discussed strategies that can be implemented to ensure sector revenues are directly reinjected into Africa’s renewable energy economy.
“From an enabling environmental perspective, across different countries, infrastructure is the key challenge,” noted Gracia Munganga, COO for SustainSolar, who added that “There are a certain number of connections that would be most cost-effective in the distribution of energy and power.”
With over 600 million people lacking access to reliable energy in Africa, innovative solutions are needed to accelerate energy access across the continent, with national policies and regulations serving as key drivers for electrification and the transition from oil and gas towards renewables.
“Africans need to look at Africa as a market for Africa,” highlighted Hon. Dr. J. Peter Pham, Former United States Special Envoy for the Sahel Region of Africa, suggested, however, that, “The international community has a moral obligation towards African countries, who must develop and enforce their own self-interest.”
“We have to understand that climate finance is not charity,” stressed Florival Mucave, Executive Chairman for the Mozambique Oil & Gas Chamber, who noted that, “Climate finance is a necessity, and we have to address it in a very clear way that can facilitate the phasing out of these energy sources.”
Universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all will require incentives from regional power networks, as well as developed countries, who will all need to play a role in helping Africa make energy poverty history by 2030.