The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Sahara Group have unveiled the Africa Renewable Energy Forum to boost access to sustainable energy for 10 million households in Africa through alternative energy initiatives and interventions.
Launched at the margins of the 74th UN General Assembly that took place in New York, recently, the Africa Renewable Energy Forum was expected to bolster ongoing partnership between UNDP and the Sahara Group that aims to create access to clean and affordable energy in Africa.
The forum would serve as a platform for policy discussions, multi-stakeholder collaboration and funding towards implementation of tailored renewable energy solutions across the continent. Ultimately, the platform would galvanise the political momentum needed to record significant progress through strong partnerships, effective regulation and mutual accountability.
The event had senior officials from both organisations in attendance including Regional Director and Assistant Secretary General for UNDP Regional Bureau for Africa, Ahunna Eziakonwa; Group Managing Director, Sahara Power Group, Kola Adesina; Director, Governance and Sustainability, Sahara Group, Pearl Uzokwe; Head Corporate Communications, Sahara Group, Bethel Obioma, and Private Sector Engagement Specialist, Sahara Foundation, Babatomiwa Adesida.
Africa has the highest percentage of untapped hydropower potential in the world, with only 11 per cent utilisation capacity.
With over 6oo million Africans having no access to electricity, Eziakonwa said the continent urgently needs to embrace renewable energy sources to sustainably connect the poorest and hardest to reach households.
“Access to energy will enhance the cause of poverty alleviation and also yield huge benefits for education, healthcare, production, and socio-economic development.
“The UNDP-Sahara partnership is extremely crucial as it will provide a model for engaging a wide range of stakeholders to address the continent’s energy challenge in line with the SDG framework,” Ahunna stated.
On his part, Adesina said the initiative has the potential to create over one million jobs in Africa as the continent continues its march towards achieving the 2030 SDG Agenda.
“Renewable energy is still in its infancy as far as Africa is concerned. We need unrelenting awareness initiatives to inspire a mind-set shift to renewable energy in Africa with the various governments, private sector and development agencies leading the charge. “At Sahara Group we believe that interventions like the UNDP-Sahara partnership will enhance productivity and shared prosperity in Africa.”