. Says climate change, energy poverty serious concern to Africa
Bold, decisive and on-target green initiatives have been identified as the only means to foster a collective combat against the incessant threat to the planet caused by carbon emissions.
To this end, every nation and region is expected to come up with such green initiatives in line with its prevailing realities and conditions, particularly the socio-economic development and energy needs.
The call was made by Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Timipre Sylva, at a three-day, Nigeria-Africa Natural Resources and Energy Investment Summit, themed: “Towards a Greener Africa”, yesterday in Abuja.
This is even as he admitted that climate change is a serious concern to Africa, and even more so the alarming level of energy poverty, saying these should be addressed in a sustainable manner for a win-win situation, given the implications on sustainable development.
According to him, in the face of the current high level of energy poverty worldwide, especially in Africa, all energy sources would be required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing access to affordable, reliable and modern energy.
He described the theme of the summit as very apt and timely at this challenging time in the energy industry globally.
“At the core of this challenge is the issue of climate change that is eliciting clamour for transition to greener energy sources to reduce carbon emission.
“The key consideration in every country’s energy policy should be pivoted on energy security; this constitutes a very high priority goal for nations all over the globe; the reason is not far-fetched as energy propels economic growth.
“That makes energy security synonymous with optimum and sustainable economic growth; energy is an indispensable ingredient for human development and socio-economic prosperity. It is central to jobs creation, security, health, and other challenges facing humans,” he said.
…energy is security synonymous with optimum and sustainable economic growth; energy is an indispensable ingredient for human development and socio-economic prosperity. It is central to jobs creation, security, health, and other challenges facing humans.
Access to energy
For these reasons, Sylva said access to energy is prominently addressed in the UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 7, which focuses on access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, as a fundamental right.
However, Africa continues to get the long end of the stick in the face of global energy poverty.
Quoting a UN data, the minister said about 760 million people lacked access to electricity worldwide with three out of four of them living in sub-Saharan Africa.
Also, one-third of the world’s population (about 2.6 billion people) have no access to clean cooking fuels with over 900 million of these in sub-Saharan Africa.
On average, only 48% of the sub-Saharan African population had access to electricity, while only 18% have access to clean cooking fuels, compared with a global average of 90% and 70% respectively.
He said further that World Bank statistics showed that the world average of carbon emissions was 4.48 metric tonnes (mt) per capita in 2018, with some regions and individual countries recording five to seven times this value. “Emission by sub-Saharan Africa in total was only 0.76mt per capita.”
Also commenting, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Zubair Dada, noted that Africa can no longer afford to ignore climate change and its challenges.
He said such challenges required collective efforts to resolve and overcome them to safeguard the planets and the future.
To this end, he said Nigeria has taken bold steps to align with the global energy transition through a combination of technology, investment, business strategy and policy to transit to meet current energy systems.