HomeRegional NewsAfricaEd's note: Stop pushing negative messaging on Africa’s energy access crisis

Ed’s note: Stop pushing negative messaging on Africa’s energy access crisis

Statistics for the electricity supply industry abound but can blind us from where the focus should be in terms of energy access.

The one associated with Africa that we are all familiar with is around SDG7: access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.

Whether stated in a report or blog post from industry professionals to organisation, the figure quoted ranges from 650-700 million people in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) lacking electricity access.

For example, in 2018, the IEA put the figure at 600 million people in SSA without electricity and 890 million using traditional fuels for cooking.

These are important figures to acknowledge and study, but I would like to address how paralysing these figures can be; putting emphasis on the task at hand, which is almost too big to imagine.

Are we drawing attention to this disparity for its shock value? Do you believe the focus should turn to positive statistics?

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How does your perspective change when I write that in Africa, with over 500 million people moving to urban areas, the demand for sustainable energy access is on the rise, offering vast opportunities for power producers?

Does the above message get you inspired to work on that next project?

A re-imagined energy sector is among the key shifts that will shape new resilient, future-proof markets to take up opportunities; as too a re-imagined messaging for Africa’s energy crisis. 

A quote from Adnan Z. Amin, the former director-general of IRENA, caught my attention a few years back as it addresses, in part, speaking the ‘language’ of business ventures.

He said: “Africa can deploy modern renewables to eliminate power shortages, bring electricity and development opportunities to rural villages that have never enjoyed those benefits, spur on industrial growth, create entrepreneurs, and support increased prosperity across the continent.”

It is a positive message that can change someone’s perspective on doing business in Africa’s energy sector.

What message would you push to change the worldview of Africa?

Until next week.

Nicolette Pombo-van Zyl
As the Editor of ESI Africa, my passion is on sustainability and placing African countries on the international stage. I take a keen interest in the trends shaping the power & water utility market along with the projects and local innovations making headline news. Watch my short weekly video on our YouTube channel ESIAfricaTV and speak with me on what has your attention.