THE AFRICA BAZAAR Staff Writer
February 15, 2016
In a continent where the majority of the population rely on traditional biomass, such as wood, for cooking, the impact on day-to-day lives, including indoor pollution, can be adverse. Thousands of people, mostly women and children die from the impact of indoor pollution
African Development Bank is using this year’s Sustainable Energy for All Africa conference to push forward its renewable energy agenda for Africa as well as raise awareness among African countries and development partners about ensuring gender equality.
During a three-day meeting held last week in Abidjan, AfDB’s Acting First Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Charles Boamah told a group of more than 100 international and domestic business, government, and civil society leaders that an expeditious improvement of access to renewable energy has become a top priority of many African countries and leaders, and that the Bank plans to “ramp up its investments- equity, loans, grants and guarantees along with co-financing and syndication,” under the New Deal on Energy for Africa.
While Mr. Boamah used the platform to showcase the development partners advancements that have been made on the continent in regards to energy and renewable energy, Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi, AfDB’s Special Envoy on Gender, underscored the importance of providing access to clean cooking solutions and renewable energy because they are critical drivers of gender equality, urging the leaders to seize the high expectations of gaining access to reliable and affordable energy that have been generated throughout the continent, to provide access to energy for women.
In a continent where the majority of the population rely on traditional biomass, such as wood, for cooking, the impact on day-to-day lives, including indoor pollution, can be adverse. Thousands of people, mostly women and children die from the impact of indoor pollution, she said.
She cited a recent study that found that women spend 3-5 times as much time as men on domestic activities, including walk miles and spend hour collecting fuelwood, and then cook with children on their backs, working so hard to feed their families. She said the same pattern is found in fuelwood collection.
Ms. Fraser-Moleketi said in order to leverage gender equality field, clean cooking solutions should be seen as requisite agents to achieving global gender equality and energy goals that can provide significant opportunities for African women’s economic empowerment.
The SE4All Africa workshop comes at a critical moment as African countries, trying to meet population’s high expectations of gaining access to reliable and affordable energy, still struggles to fill that void.
One of the ways to quickly fix and close the energy void on the continent is to utilize power rental companies services, which can provide a temporary solution for the next five to ten years while building sustainable energy solutions, at least in Mozambique, Nigeria, Tanzania and Angola, says Rohit Nema, an analysts at Verify Markets.
AfDB said it is committed to supporting women and plans to use its New Deal in Energy for Africa initiative to push for the establishment of an energy financing program that is accessible to poor women, which will help address the lack of access to clean cooking solutions for 700 million africans. The Bank also said it plan to provide women with clean cooking stoves.
During the meeting, the group of leaders reviewed the progress that have been made, and agreed on a national implementation framework, SE4All Action Agenda– which they envision will guarantee the acceleration of universal access to renewable energy across the continent, with focus on forming new public private partnerships that will mobilize necessary investments and technical assistance needed to expedite coordination of various energy such as renewable, LPG, coal and hydroelectric, which will create and ensure access to affordable energy thus enabling entrepreneurial environments for women in energy.
The leaders also called for integration of identified projects, investments and data into appropriate marketplace platforms and investment brochures.
The SE4All Africa, an initiative launched in 2013 during the AfDB Annual meeting in Marrakesh, is a country-level umbrella framework for energy sector development with a long-term vision, ensuring overall sector wide coherence and synergy of the accumulated efforts towards the three goals.
Daniel-Alexander Schroth, SE4All Africa Hub coordinator, added that the SE4All Action Agenda, which is already supported by several countries is “key to advancing SE4All objectives in Africa.”
“Along with the investment prospectus, these nationally owned documents provide a credible framework for mobilizing investments for sustainable energy access, energy efficiency or renewable energy generation,” he said
So far, 33 countries have joined the initiatives- including Cabo Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Angola, Swaziland, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe, majority of which have completed a rapid assessment and gap analysis.
Consulting firms have already been recruited in response to government’s requests under the Africa Climate Technology Finance Center and Network, a recent GEF project implemented by AfDB. On the ground activities began during mid 2015 and deliverables are expected to be finalized in early 2016
The meeting was cohosted with NEPAD, UN Development Program and supported by the Global Environment Facility-financed Africa Climate Technology and Finance Center project, International Network on Gender and Sustainable Energy and the ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency.
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