Africa—The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) announced a new partnership to unlock public and private investments towards affordable and sustainable energy access for all people in Africa, particularly in the Sahel.
Signing a Memorandum of Understanding at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the UN Assistant-Secretary General and UNPD’s Assistant Administrators and Regional Bureau for Africa Director Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa, and Ms Damiola Ogunbiyi, CEO and special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN.
“Our vision for this partnership is to continue to promote and support bolder energy transition initiatives for the region and to demonstrate the viability of longer-term programs and investment readiness in the Sahel that will ultimately benefit millions of people in the region who currently do not have access to electricity and clean cooking solutions,” said Ms. Ogunbinyi.
More than 53% of Sub-Saharan Africans about 570 million people do not have access to electricity, as highlighted by the World Bank.
In Sahel alone, over 51% of the Sahelian population some 175 million people do not have access to clean cooking.
Limited and unpredictable power supplies combined with high electricity costs constrain the development of businesses and economic activities as fossil fuels and traditional biomass (charcoal, wood, dry dung fuel) remain the main energy sources bearing severe consequences on the environment and human health.
Given the urgent need for action, SEforALL and UNPD teams have identified immediate areas for collaboration.
By supporting the policy and regulatory frameworks and strengthening institutional capacity, this alliance aims to unlock public and private sector investment for off-grid rural electrification, amongst other initiatives.
“Sealing this partnership today will strengthen our actions in addressing one of the most pressing issues for all people living in Africa, particularity in the Sahel,” stressed Ms. Eziakonwa.
“Affordable and sustainable access to energy is key to accelerating development. A great opportunity awaits to be tapped to transform the Sahel, regenerating this land of immense opportunity and promise.
“Investing in energy in the Sahel will deliver dividends for children trying to earn an education, youth willing to access employment opportunities, women yearning to acquire new skills, and empower local authorities or businesses.”
The African continent particularly the Sahel has immense renewable energy potential but remains challenged by the high financing costs required to deploy clean energy solutions at scale.