The head of the African Development Bank has warned of future political upheaval if African governments fail to deliver on energy access.
Dr Akinwumi Adesina, whose organisation provides development finance to African countries, was speaking at the launch of a major new report on electrifying Africa, where two thirds of the population still lack access to basic energy supplies.
Dr Adesina said: “the pressure is mounting on governments. If you take a look at young people today…they want to have a good quality of life. And that’s why I strongly believe that for African leaders to stay in power they have to provide power.”
Africa’s large and growing youth population – half the continent is under the age of 25 – has long been cited as a cause of future instability, with a growing risk of armed conflict and increased flows of economic migration to Europe.
The UK government says that African countries need to create at least 18 million jobs in year to prevent catastrophic mass-unemployment. That in turn requires a massive scaling up of the continent’s power infrastructure.
The report backed by Dr Adesina recommends a pragmatic approach to electricity access and said that African leaders should be using all forms of energy to bring power to their people.