THE African Development Bank, AFDB, 51st annual meetings formally opened on Tuesday, May 24, in Lusaka, Zambia with African leaders endorsing the new deal on energy, a vehicle through which the bank plans to invest in delivering electricity for all Africans by 2025.
Paul Kagame, president of Rwanda, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and Akinwumi Adesina, president of the AfDB in a live CNBC-Africa television debate shared their ideas on the “Path to Universal Access to Energy in Africa by 2025”, which is what the AfDB’s New Deal on Energy intends to achieve.
“This New Deal on Energy is a big deal for Africa,” said President Paul Kagame, adding that it brings a new momentum in the efforts of doing what Africa should have otherwise have done, long time ago. The leaders expressed the view that Africa is tired of being in darkness and that a concerted action must be taken to address the issue.
Supporting, Kenyatta said that Africa has a lot of potential in renewable energy sources that just needs further enhancement.
“We have heard and had enough of the theory. It is now time for practical engagement by supporting the AfDB to leverage Africa’s huge potential,” he said.
On his part, Adesina noted that Kagame and Kenyatta represent what Africa needs most at the moment, the political will to translate Africa’s potential into tangible benefits for its people.
“The presence of the leaders here sends a powerful message that African presidents back AfDB. Money is not the key. Political will is all we need to get things done,” Adesina said.
“Africa is simply tired of being in the dark. Our goal is clear; universal access to energy for Africa within 10 years. Africa must think big, act big and deliver big. Although it is true that Africa has a lot of energy potential, industries don’t run on potential, they run on energy,” Adesina said.
Official statistics showed that only about 16 percent of Africans are connected to electricity with more than 645 million Africans having no access to power. More than 700 million do not have access to clean energy for cooking.
Stating that Africa cannot afford to have low ambition, Adesina said that the new energy deal, will see AfDB investing $12 billion over the next five years in energy alone to ensure African have access to electricity by 2025.
Also, Adesina proposes five priority areas, called the “High 5s” which the Bank will focus on during his tenure to Lighting up and Powering Africa within a decade. The AfDB plans to expand grid-power by 160 Giggawatts, connect 130 million people to grid, another 75 million people connected to off-grid sources, and 150 million households to clean cooking energy.
The 51st Annual Meetings are being held under the theme “Energy and Climate Change” and this, according to Adesina, is for a good reason, because by solving Africa’s electricity challenge, natural resources, such as forests will be saved.
— June 6, 2016 @ 15:20 GMT