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Renewables to light way for Africa - 2nd December


"Africa is simply tired of being in the dark" Akinwumi Adesina, head of the African Development Bank (AfDB), said to a cheering crowd at the African Pavilion at the summit in Paris for the launch of the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) at U.N.climate change talks in Paris on Tuesday.

Akinwumi Adesina, has a bold vision for electrifying a continent where two-thirds of people lack access to power, and getting there by skipping carbon-intensive growth in favour of renewable energy.

AREI and African heads of state announced aims to achieve 10 gigawatts of new renewables by 2020 and mobilise the potential to generate 300 gigawatts by 2030. The initiative is driven by African countries and backed by the 54-nation African Union and represents a part of their contribution to the global efforts on climate change and eliminating energy poverty.

The bank, which will act as a trustee of the initiative, will invest $12 billion in energy projects across the continent over the next five years, which will leverage approximately $40 to $50 billion from the private sector.

The bank would also work with other power initiatives on the continent such as U.S. President Barack Obama's $7-billion plan to "Power Africa", projects by the European Union, Britain and others to raise their levels of investments in the energy sector.

After meeting several African heads of state, French President Francois Hollande announced plans to provide €2 billion for renewable energy and environmental projects across Africa between 2016 and 2020.

The initiative goes to the heart of an issue under discussion at the climate talks; how to convince developing nations to leapfrog the cheap, carbon-intensive energy sources like coal that powered the industrial revolution and move directly to the low-emissions sources that many see as critical to slowing climate change.

Approximately 35 gigawatts of power in Africa now come from renewable sources of total installed electricity capacity of about 160 gigawatts.

"Our sunshine should do more than nourish crops, it must light up homes. Our massive water resources... should power homes and industries.’’ Adesina said.

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