Africa is simply tired of being in the dark. It is time to take decisive action and turn around the narrative to light up and power Africa - and accelerate the pace of economic transformation, unlock the potential of businesses, and drive the much needed industrialization to create jobs - Akinwumi Adesina (President, African Development Bank - AfDB)

The rest of the world often refer to Africa as the "dark continent" because of the inadequate power (energy) supply condition in most of her communities. For the most part, many Africans are yet to fully experience what life would be like when there is constant power supply to help them in their day to day, secular activities. This energy shortfall has become a major challenge for most African governments who are seeking ways to lead their nations, and collectively Africa to the light at the end of the dark tunnel. But to what effect have their interventions and policy frameworks helped to improve on this energy deficit on a continental scale in 2022?

Statistics made available by the AfDB revealed that over 640 million Africans have no access to energy, corresponding to an electricity access rate for African countries at just over 40 percent, the lowest in the world.

Per capita consumption of energy in sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) is 180 kWh, compared to 13,000 kWh per capita in the United States and 6,500 kWh in Europe.

Africa’s energy potential, especially renewable energy, is enormous, yet only a fraction of it is being currently employed. Hydropower provides around a fifth of current capacity but not even a tenth of its total potential is being utilized.

Similarly, the technical potential of solar, biomass, wind and geothermal energy is significant. Fossil fuels also remain an overall important part of the energy mix.

Access to energy is crucial not only for the attainment of health and education outcomes, but also for reducing the cost of doing business and for unlocking economic potential and creating jobs. Insufficient energy access manifests itself in hundreds of thousands of deaths annually due to the use of wood-burning stoves for cooking; handicaps the operations of hospitals and emergency services; compromises educational attainment; and drives up the cost of doing business.

Energy access for all is therefore one of the key drivers of inclusive growth as it creates opportunities for women, youths, and children both in urban and rural areas.

Power of Africa commends the African Development Bank (AfDB) for its New Deal on Energy for Africa policy drive which is targeted at helping the continent achieve universal electricity access by 2025 with a strong focus on encouraging clean and renewable energy solutions.

This deal will require providing 160 GW of new capacity, 130 million new on-grid connections, 75 million new off-grid connections and providing 150 million households with access to clean cooking solutions.

We also use this medium to call on concerned state institutions and other Pan-African charity investment organisations across the world to lend their support to the AfDB in order to help actualise a new Africa where lack of quality and safe energy resources are a thing of the past by 2025.

Credit: afdb.org/Light Up and Power Africa.