Guaranteeing access to reliable, affordable energy services for all Africans by 2030 is a target of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative and leading the edge is a group of African heads of state, CEOs and bankers, explains Mohinder Gulati, COO of SE4ALL, in an exclusive interview with ESI Africa.
Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) has recently launched the African Energy Leaders Group (AELG) in Davos. Tell us about this group.
The African Energy Leaders Group is a working group of African political and economic leaders at the highest level, who are pooling their complementary skills to build momentum for a new vision and new solutions to the energy challenge in Africa.
Founding members including Tony Elumelu (chairman of Heirs Holdings, Nigeria), Aliko Dangote (Chairman & CEO of Dangote Group, Nigeria), Donald Kaberuka (outgoing President of the African Development Bank) and a number of heads of states share a common commitment to leveraging the continent’s rich energy resources for the benefit of its people and a broad-based economic development.
A historical parallel would be the founding of the European Union by a small group of four to six countries focused on expanding the economic opportunity of their citizens by optimising the use of energy resources and enhancing the competitiveness of their steel industries.
In other words, energy resource served as the catalytic integrator of their markets, and today there are 27 nations in the community with interconnected grids, common energy frameworks and targets for mutual energy security. These leaders, whom we call ‘Energy Champions’, seek to place energy issues high on the agenda for Africa’s economic advancement.
Why was it felt necessary to have another group focusing on Africa’s energy challenges?
The International Energy Agency estimates some 625 million people across sub-Saharan Africa – more than two thirds of the total population – have no access to electricity, and that number is rising. Even greater numbers depend on inefficient, hazardous fuels such as wood or charcoal to cook or heat their homes – 800,000 premature deaths per year occur due to household air pollution.
Business as usual has not delivered the needed solutions. The challenge of ‘energy poverty’, which is the biggest barrier to removing ‘income poverty’, needs to be confronted with a new vision and new solutions. Guaranteeing access to reliable, affordable energy services for all Africans by 2030 is a key goal. This is in line with…