Initiatives to address lack of electricity in the continent have received a major boost after the international community pledged more than US$10 billion to the ambitious Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI).
Germany (donated $3,25 billion), France ($2,2 billion), Sweden ($500 million) and Canada (CA$110) have backed the plan to add to add 10,000 MW of additional renewable energy on the continent by 2020.
The European Union and G7 will also contribute.
The boost came at an event on the sidelines of the Paris climate meeting, COP21.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director, Achim Steiner, said Africa’s renewable energy revolution would ensure access to clean, reliable and efficient energy, while ensuring we do not add to the greenhouse gas emissions we are gathered here in Paris to reduce.
“The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative aims to do just that. Such leadership from Africa, and the financial backing from the international community announced today, provides fresh hope that we can tackle the twin challenges of sustainable development and climate change,” Steiner said.
African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, said the lack of electricity had hindered industrialisation.
“Through the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, we can sustain fast economic growth in Africa and on a low carbon development pathway,” Adesina said.
Approximately 600 million people have no access to electricity in Africa, with the figure expected to rise to 700 million by 2030 without further action, a 2015 UNEP report found. As a result, many rely on wood or other biomass to cook and heat their homes, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths each year from indoor air pollution.