Pan-African Parliament President Roger Nkodo Dang addressed the French National Assembly on Tuesday 3rd November 2015, with an urgent call to action in support of Africa’s electrification, ahead of the UN’s COP 21 meeting to be held in Paris at the end of the month.
The PAP President is supporting “Energies for Africa” an association founded by former French Minister Jean Louis Borloo, at the request of African leaders to work towards an African electric revolution. Mr Nkodo Dang is accompanied by a strong delegation of 30 pan African members of parliament from all regions of the continent, to voice their support for this vital project.
During his historic speech, the president emphasized the strong links and cooperation between France and Africa, and France’s pivotal role at the upcoming COP 21 conference. Mr Nkodo Dang spoke of the 75% of Africans, that is, more than 650 million people that do not have access to electricity. “Our desperate children are leaving these lands” he said, “these lands without light, energy, activity, lead these children to seek new avenues in Africa’s capitals and beyond African borders” he added.
In his support for the Energies for Africa project, Mr Nkodo Dang emphasized Africa’s need for a plan that would favour a double digit economic growth, reduce outbound migration and allow for the effective adaptation and mitigation of effects of climate change. Mr Nkodo Dang subsequently added that Africa needs France’s support, and the support of Europe to achieve a 100 % electrified Africa. He cited the success of the Americas, Europe, China, Japan and India who have achieved great progress in its national electrification plan.
The PAP president also spoke of the paradox that despite its low level of electricity access, Africa has the largest potential in alternative energy sources. He further stated that for the Energies for Africa project to be effective in reaching its goals, a mobilization of 5 billion dollars yearly for 10 years should be achieved. A relatively small sum, given the bigger picture and urgency of Africa’s electrification and the economic and social opportunities that would open up.
The lack of access to electricity in Africa hampers development, deprives homes of light, and causes degradation of the environment, amplified by the use of polluting alternative energy such as kerosene lights for example. The Energies for Africa initiative intends to mobilize a broad coalition of stakeholders in Africa, Europe and beyond to give a decisive impetus to universal access of Africans to electricity within 10 years.
The initiative aims to focus on two areas, firstly to encourage a technological leap to accelerate access to electricity, foster both micro-networks and regional integration of infrastructure. Secondly, it aims to facilitate securing the necessary public and private investments.