Abuja - The United Kingdom has launched a new campaign, Energy Africa, to promote access to electricity to millions in Nigeria and around the continent.
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has joined an elite group of leaders who have graced the launch of the campaign in London.
Osinbajo, who left Nigeria on Wednesday, attended the launch alongside Chair of Africa Progress Panel and Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, African Union Commission chairperson Madame Zuma, the Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and the activist Bob Geldof.
The Energy Africa initiative is envisaged to help bring universal energy access in the continent forward from the year 2080 to 2030.
United Kingdom International Development Minister, Grant Shapps, speaking from London, expressed concern at the prevalent lack of access to electricity in Africa.
Some 621 million Africans live without access to electricity. According to the World Bank, about half of Nigeria’s official population of 173,6 million have no access.
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“It is shocking that around two out of three of the African population have no electricity in their homes. This not only holds back individuals, but entire nations. It prevents businesses from trading and holds back economic growth – indeed outages cost African countries 1.2 percent of their annual GDP,” he said.
Shapps, who was in Nigeria recently, was confident people’s lives could be transformed with the installation of solar panel systems.
“The technology is there – all we have to do is remove the barriers stifling the market. This is what Energy Africa will help do. It has the power to help millions of Africans lift themselves out of poverty and transform the prospects of an entire continent – something that is good for Africa but good for Britain too.”
Shapps said Energy Africa would take on the inefficient markets, policy barriers and under-investment which mean that Africans pay as much as 66 times more for their electricity than someone in his country.
This would be achieves through increasing support to the sector, decreasing cost of solar photovoltaic panels, improvements in battery technology and the spread of mobile payment systems, among other moves.
The campaign will involve key stakeholders including African Governments, donors, investors and lenders, industry, NGOs, and the public.
- CAJ News