AfDB’s new 'Energy for Africa' deal to benefit over 700m people

700 million people will be supported to afford clean cooking energy stoves by the “New Deal for Energy in Africa,” an initiative by the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) unveiled Thursday to solve Africa's huge energy deficit by 2025.
KivuWatt methane gas plant stands afloat on Lake Kivu is expected to add 25 MW to the national electricity grid. (File)
KivuWatt methane gas plant stands afloat on Lake Kivu is expected to add 25 MW to the national electricity grid. (File)

700 million people will be supported to afford clean cooking energy stoves by the “New Deal for Energy in Africa,” an initiative by the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) unveiled Thursday to solve Africa's huge energy deficit by 2025.

The blue print to get rid of Africa’s energy poverty by 2025 was unveiled at a High Level Stakeholder Consultative Meeting attended by business and political leaders at the bank’s headquarters in Abidjan.

“The New Energy Deal for Africa will push for the establishment of a Bottom-of the Pyramid Energy Financing Facility for Africa. This should support some 700 million people to afford clean cooking energy stoves,” AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, underscored while unveiling the Deal.

According to the AfDB, Africa, the world's second-largest and second-most-populous continent, has the largest energy poverty in the world as over 645 million Africans do not have access to energy. Not having enough energy reportedly costs Africa about 2.4% in GDP loss annually.

Adesina who took oath of office as the 8th AfDB President in September, noted that it was unfortunate that over 600,000 women and children die every year from the impacts of indoor pollution, simply cooking for their families.

Adesina said: “The cost is well within our reach to provide, for it will take only $4.2 billion to solve the problem. We can and must solve their problem – and do so quickly.”

The initiative which charts the way for a transformative partnership on energy, focuses on mobilising support and funding for the initiative from five key areas which include: the AfDB significantly expanding its support towards energy in Africa, Donors scaling up on-going efforts while African governments should expand their share of financing for the energy sector and at the same time, demonstrate stronger political will to ensure success of the deal.

“Small businesses languish for lack of power; children underperform for lack of electricity as over 90% of Africa’s primary schools lack electricity. Lives are at risk in our hospitals for lack of electricity. We must change. Africa can no longer wait,” Adesina said.

“An economy that has no electricity is only dying, slowly. Africa’s growth and prosperity depends on solving the crisis on energy. It will require a greater level of commitment than ever seen before, for Africa’s present and future depends on it”.

A lot of financing will be needed, the AfDB President admitted, adding that: “Together, we must close the $55 billion financing gap for energy in sub-Saharan Africa”.

Adesina said the continent’s leaders and development partners must raise their level of “commitment to meet the $22 billion needed to support universal access to energy in the region.”

He illustrated how domestic resource mobilisation would play a crucial role by leveraging on just 10% of the continent’s tax revenues estimated at US$ 500 billion per year.

The bankers also showed how ending the over $60 billion annual illicit financial flows out of Africa can help; and how developed countries meeting the 0.7% commitment for Gross National Income for development assistance which can generate more than $178 billion can help scale up energy development.

Nigerian Banker and Co-chair of the African Energy Leaders Group, Tony Elumelu, said that the private sector can play a crucial role in the development of Africa’s energy sector, if provided with the required enabling environment.

He said that given the situation in which some 600 million people lack energy in Africa, it would be necessary for Africa to explore all good sources of energy to meet the huge deficit, adding that the AfDB was in the best position to bring businesses, governments and international organisations together to make the deal a success.

Highlighting the continent’s energy potential, Adesina said Africa had potential for 11 terawatts of solar energy, 350 gigawatts of hydropower, 110 gigawatts of wind power, and an additional 15 gigawatts of geothermal potential, yet it generates the same level of electricity as Spain or Belgium.

The Vice Prime Minister of DR Congo, Thomas Luhaka and Cote d’Ivoire’s Prime Minister, Daniel Kablan Duncan, commended Adesina for putting together such an ambitious initiative barely two weeks after his investiture.

They pledged to mobilise the necessary political support required to ensure that Africa gets rid of its “energy poverty” by 2025.

 

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