Arusha. Two non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have teamed up to seek policy interventions that will reverse the energy crisis facing local communities in Africa.
The Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (Pacja) and Germanwatch intend to raise awareness among policy makers to give people access to affordable energy.
“The project will equip CSOs with skills, knowledge and tools to engage in renewable energy development,” said Mithika Mwenda, executive director of Pacja.
He spoke recently after the Nairobi-based organization signed an agreement with Germanwatch, a German NGO on sustainable energy transition.
“The project will also ensure that CSOs’ engagement is more coordinated under the umbrella of continental efforts,” he said.
This will, among others, be undertaken through strengthening of the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access (Acsea).
It was noted during the crafting of the project agreement that renewable energy initiatives in Africa have not been entirely successful.
They lack coordination and transparency and often exclude important stakeholders particularly the CSOs “and are poorly governed”.
“As a result these shortcomings “undermine the effectiveness of renewable energy projects delivering especially to the poor,” he said.
According to him, the project has been informed by the fact that the global energy poverty is now concentrated in sub Saharan Africa.
“Lack of energy access, particularly in rural Africa has prevented our women from leading more productive lives.
“Instead, it has expanded inequality gaps, and increased a wide range of social injustices,” officials of the two organizations said.
They cited the lack of access to energy as affecting the continent’s services in health, household income and quality of life.
The drawback has also limited access to modern services such as ICTs, as well as human capital development, productive land and forest use.
Available statistics indicate that around one in two citizens of sub Saharan African countries, roughly 75 percent of the global total, have no electricity.
And a staggering 80 percent of the population (about 800 million people) lack access to modern energy, and rely on biomass products such as wood, charcoal, and dung to cook.
This has fuelled inequality gaps across Africa as women and girls spend more hours searching for wood fuel and thus easily become victims of physical and sexual abuse.
Africa suffers from energy poverty, or the lack of access to modern energy services, despite the natural abundance of fossil fuels and renewable energy sources.
Other statistics indicate that Africa was only responsible for 3.2 percent of energy usage within the global landscape.
Pacja and Germanwatch are implementing a project -Ensuring a People-Centered Energy Transition in Africa Through Civil Society Engagement- also within the framework of addressing the climate change challenges.