By Arman Kazemi
December 10, 2015
Canada has announced it will provide $150 million in aid for the development of clean energy and renewable infrastructure in Africa.
The commitment is part of the African Renewable Energy Initiative, which aims to develop 10 gigawatts of renewable energy in Africa by 2020, with a long-term goal of reaching 300 gigawatts of clean energy by 2030. Catherine McKenna, Canada’s minister of environment and climate change, made the announcement during a meeting of the G7 nations at the Paris climate talks last week.
Electricity consumption in Africa was 640 kilowatt-hours per capita in 2012, according to the International Energy Agency, compared to a global average of 3,064 kilowatt-hours per capita.
“Affordable and renewable energy is critical for Africa,” Carlos Lopes, executive secretary for the UN Economic Commission for Africa, said in a statement. “The annual production of 160 gigawatts of power by the continent is not even half of Japan’s capacity. What sub-Saharan Africa produces is less than what South Africa produces. Time to act is now to change the situation.”
With the Renewable Energy Initiative, African nations hope to “leapfrog” to sustainable energy supplies for upwards of 640 million people without access to electricity.
Solar, wind, geothermal and hydro power are seen as some of the untapped resources in the continent’s push towards renewable energy.
“Sunshine should do more than just nourish our crops. It must light our homes,” said Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank, according to the statement. “Our massive water resources should do more than water our farms, it should power our industries… Africa must unlock its renewable energy potentials.”
With its new commitment, Canada joins the European Union, which pledged CAD $13.6 billion to develop renewable energy in Africa. Germany also pledged an additional CAD $4.4 billion.
“Here in the city of lights, it is impossible to accept the fact that millions of households in Africa are still in the dark,” McKenna said, as reported by DeSmog Canada.
“We are ready to work with partners to bring more renewable energy and access to electricity in Africa, where the needs and opportunities are important,” she said in a news release.