The African Development Bank (AfDB), has charged the international community to deploy just and equitable policies in the ongoing campaign for transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy rather than mounting pressures on Africa countries to embrace the change alongside developed nations.
AfDB’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth, Kevin Kariuki, made this declaration while speaking at the just-concluded International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)’s 12th Assembly in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.
He stated that only a fraction of the continent’s abundant renewable energy resources have been harnessed, to date.
With about 600 million of its people living without access to electricity, a fast-growing population and an ambition for economic transformation, Kariuki says Africa requires a step-growth in investment to meet the sustainable development goals it desires.
He explained that, though renewable energy has the capability to facilitate the continent’s economic growth and reduce energy poverty, the African region contributes an insignificant portion to global carbon emissions.
For this reason, he believes it is unfair to mount much pressure on the continent to swiftly abandon its existing energy resources in a bid to embrace the energy transition goals set by foreign influences to implement decarbonization in their own regions.
Kariuki advocated that a balance must be struck – the bid to attain global energy transition must not stand in the way of the continent’s socio-economic development goals.
“Renewable energy portends great potentials in overcoming energy poverty, powering industrialization and meeting the goals of the Paris Agreement.
“However, the transition to renewable energy must be just and equitable, recognizing that Africa has only contributed 3% of its 22 total global house gas emissions, but bears the blunts of climate change impact.
“Hence, the African Market Regional Analysis Report developed in collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency, proposes a calibrated energy transition framework to help Africa policy-makers identify, prepare and foster a symbiotic relationship between the energy transition and socio-economic development,” he said.
He reiterated the commitment of the African Development Bank to ensuring that energy poverty in Africa declines through the encouragement and use of renewables.
“On its parts, the African Development Bank is fully committed to anchoring energy access on the continent, based on renewable energy.
“This is evident from our investment portfolio which is over 80% renewable since 2016.
“In addition, we are increasing the number of green finance products such as Sustainable Energy Farm for Africa.
“With the support of countries and partners such as IRENA, the bank’s over hacking energy strategy – the new deal for energy in Africa which has universal access to energy at its cute – could therefore underpin an African green deal; thereby enabling Africa lead the way in entrenching renewables as a principal source of energy on the continent,” he said.
The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)’s Assembly is a forum that brings together Heads of State/Government, Ministers and energy decision-makers among its Membership and States-in-Accession, as well as multilateral organizations, global stakeholders and private actors, to re-assess long-standing assumptions, perceived barriers and default decisions in the industry, globally.