Power Is A Necessary Ingredient For Development- Dr Akinwunmi Adesina

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Regardless of whatever measure put in place to confront economic and developmental challenges by various African countries, the continent may not make serious headway until the problem of inadequate energy supply is resolved, said the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina.

Adesina, who fielded questions from The Guardian during one of the side events at the just concluded World Bank-International Monetary Fund (IMF) meeting in Lima, Peru, said no country could perform without power.

“Without power, Africa is going nowhere. That’s why we have decided to launch what is called the New Deal for Energy in Africa to accelerate the access to energy by 2025,” he said.

Launched barely two weeks ago, the New Deal for Energy in Africa is aimed at charting the way for a transformative partnership on energy by mobilising support and funding for the initiative from five key areas.

Under the programme, the AfDB is to significantly expand its support towards energy in Africa. Also, development partners would be obliged to scale up ongoing efforts, while countries must also expand their share of financing going into the energy sector and at the same time demonstrate stronger political will to ensure success of the deal.

Development partners would also be required to work together and coordinate their efforts to drive critical policy and regulatory reforms of the energy sector to improve incentives for accelerated investments.

“A lot of financing will be needed. Together, we must close the $55 billion financing gap for energy in sub-Saharan Africa. And we must raise our level of commitment to meet the $22 billion needed to support universal access to energy in the region,” he said.

Reiterating the AfDB’s action plan, the former Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture stated that domestic resource mobilisation would play a crucial role by leveraging on just 10 percent of the continent’s tax revenues estimated at US$ 500 billion per year, just as ending the over $60 billion annual illicit financial flows out of Africa can also help.

He also urged developed countries to honour their 0.7 percent commitment for Gross National Income for Official Development Assistance (ODA), which can generate more than $178 billion needed to scale up energy development in Africa.

“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. 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,” he said.

Expectedly, agriculture features prominently in the bank’s plans to get the continent out of poverty line.

“We are also working very actively on a programme in agriculture in many African countries. We are encouraging various countries on the continent to diversify their economies very quickly. But not agriculture as the way it has been done before, but agriculture as a business and not as a way of life.”

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