In the United Kingdom (UK), Nigerian Vice President Yemi Osinbanjo (SAN) has signed an agreement with the UK to increase the deployment of solar energy to the West African country’s rural communities. UK Minister of State for International Development, Grant Shapps, signed the agreement on behalf of the UK government.
Universal electricity access by 2030
The signing follows the launch of the UK’s Energy Africa access campaign last week, which is designed to help Africa achieve universal energy access by 2030.
Osinbajo noted that his presence at the launch was to highlight Nigeria’s commitment to the expansion of energy access both at a regional and national level, including access to clean power technology, Footprint to Africa reported.
He added that in line with the campaign, Nigeria will concentrate its efforts in increasing the supply and consumption of solar generated power, adding that the Federal Government will work closely with the Department for International Development.
Nigeria: opportunities for Africa
Osinbajo said the energy access programme is an opportunity for Africa, and through the partnerships, could bring universal access to energy.
Osinbajo said: “With the cost of solar power 20 years ago that would have been impossible; the combination of innovation in technology, the low cost of solar power has made this all the more possible.
“This is an incredible opportunity in Africa, especially Nigeria, with over 96 million people who do not have access to power.”
Osinbajo noted that the use of kerosene had created a lot of safety and environmental issues, adding: “A default energy source should be solar and the option was not available for so long, but now it is cheaper, safer, and more environmentally friendly.”
Osinbajo said the Nigerian market provided the greatest opportunity for the use of small scale solar solutions, adding that the country would be the ideal base to push the solar solution in the continent.
He said: “But the challenges are probably as clear as the prospects but thankfully enough they are surmountable.”
Energy gap still to remain
Speaking at the launch, Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations(UN), said that while 620 million Africans live without access to conventional power, 300 million would still lack access by 2040, a decade after the UN target of developmental goals for universal energy.
Annan said: “This is intolerable, avoidable and profoundly unfair. It leaves the world’s poorest people to pay the highest prices for power.”
Annan added that the African Progress panel of the UN, would assist in meeting the need for easy access to affordable energy.
He said: “Where the leaders and investment partners do have a choice is in deciding how to tackle the region’s energy crisis.
“Africa does not have to follow the carbon-intensive pathway of the energy practices of the rich and emerging countries, which has brought the world to the brinks of catastrophe.
“Africa is rich in untapped energy potential, including renewable sources such as sun, wind and hydro, all of which had advantage of speed and scope to decentralization.”