The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), which is an Africa led plan to add 10,000 MW of additional renewable energy on the continent by 2020 has received a major boost in funding of over $10 billion from international sources at the Conference of Parties 21 (COP21).
According to the President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, Mr Akinwunmi Adesina, “Africa is tired of being in the dark. The Lack of electricity has put the brakes on Africa’s industrialization. Through the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, we can sustain fast economic growth in Africa and on a low-carbon development pathway.”
Africa is also at the forefront of fighting poverty, with 600 million people with no access to electricity, relying on wood or other biomass to cook and heat their homes, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths each year from indoor air pollution. Adesina also addressed the economic damage caused by lack of access to electricity, saying that the continent loses 4% of its total GDP because of the lack of clean energy.
The initiative therefore is seen as an avenue to light up the continent through renewable energy that is, adding at least 10 GW of new renewable energy generation by 2020, and 300 GW more by 2030.
The news comes as a coalition of 12 countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Kenya, Liberia and Malawi announced a goal to replant 100m hectares (247m acres) of forest across Africa in the next 15 years.