The African Union (AU) has announced a plan to mobilise $20 billion to develop at least 10 gigawatts of renewable energy on the continent by the end of the decade through the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), Bloomberg reports.
The plan was announced at the ongoing United Nations climate change conference (COP21) in Paris.
Ivory Coast-based African Development Bank, will host the initiative and act as its trustee, Alex Rugamba, director of energy, environment and climate change at the AfDB reportedly said.
According to Bloomberg, “The program is expected be partially funded from the $100 billion pledged by rich countries to fight climate change in the developing world”.
Numerous countries across the continent face acute energy shortages which stall development. According to the World Bank, “In Africa, power is inaccessible, unaffordable, and unreliable for most people. This traps people in poverty…The African continent is well endowed with energy resources but most remain untapped”.
To address this crisis, heavy investment is needed to improve access to electricity on a large scale and the proposed AREI is a timely intervention.
According to reports, the initiative will aid AU member countries to develop low-carbon growth paths, creating jobs, improving energy security and bringing clean, safe and affordable energy to the 640 million Africans who currently lack access to it.
Meanwhile, France announced that it will provide 2 billion euros for renewable energy in Africa between 2016 and 2020.
“Africa is being hit hard by the consequences of global warming, yet it is responsible for only 4% of global greenhouse gas emissions,” COP21 reported.