New Energy Deal for Africa: world leading technology is changing the lives of people in Africa by giving them a reliable source of electricity.
World leading technology is changing the lives of people in Africa by giving them a reliable source of electricity
Worldwide approximately 1.1 billion people still don’t have access to electricity, the majority of these people are found in Asia and Africa. Additionally, circa 2.9 billion people still cook and heat their houses by burning wood or another sources of fuel, such as plant and animal waste. The resulting pollution caused by burning these types of fuels are believed to be responsible of approximately 4.3 million deaths every year.
“Global North and Global South”
The “Global North” is largely made up of; Western Europe, Canada, the United States and developed parts of East Asia. All the existing members of the G8 are in the “Global North”.
The “Global South” is largely made up of; Latin America, Africa and the developing parts of Asia including the Middle East.
The designations “Global North” and “Global South” as a way of dividing the world are becoming increasingly controversial as well as hard to accurately define, this is for a number of different reasons one of which is the speed in which some countries’ economies are growing since the introduction of initiatives such as “fair trade”. They are however still established terms used across the world and there are still some concerning differences between the two.
In the “Global South” only 5% of the population have sufficient food and shelter, versus 95% in the “Global North”, additionally 90% of all manufacturing industries are either located in, or owned by countries in the “Global North”.
There are a number of major concerns that are still widespread in the “Global South” including; extreme hunger and poverty, poor education, high child mortality levels, uncontrolled spread of diseases including HIV/AIDS and Malaria, gender inequalities, the lack of appropriate levels of technology, environmental instability and economic and political uncertainty.
Energy in Africa
Over 600 million people in Africa still don’t have access to a reliable source of energy. The ability to access electricity is intrinsically linked to the economic development and growth of a country, as such it has been acknowledged that in order to ensure Africa has the best possible opportunity to grow its economy, it must have guaranteed access to power.
Earlier this year at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, a group of private investors pledged to make annual investments of between $40 – $70 billion in order to connect over 200 million people to a reliable source of electricity, including 75 million who are currently considered to be “off the grid”. Research has shown that with the correct investment and support Africa is very capable of producing enough energy to power itself in the future.
The target the private investors have set themselves is to ensure universal access to electricity across Africa by 2025.
“Off grid” and “On grid” energy
Whilst the focus is very much on increasing the ‘on grid’ power solutions, there continues to be a huge amount of work and investment being made with the renewable/off grid solutions. These solutions are not only almost always cheaper and quicker to install, but are also hugely beneficial for the environment.
The “International renewable energy agency” has recently successfully supplied millions of people in India with “off grid” electricity using new solar technology. Its success has in fact ensured that a number of coal fire power plants are now no longer scheduled to be built in India.
World leading technology
The “off grid” system currently being trialed and rolled out in parts of Africa is a world’s first, utilizing technology that is not seen anywhere else in the world, even in the most developed nations.
It puts the user in control, is fully flexible and utilizes existing mobile phone technology.
Azuri Technologies is a British company based in Cambridgeshire, England that focusses on the “rent to buy” solar panel market. The technology they are using is significantly more advanced than anything seen anywhere else.
It currently has approximately 60,000 of its systems installed across Africa including Kenya, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Uganda.
Payments are made via mobile phone “top ups” or via a scratch card system, and every single payment made makes a contribution to the overall cost of the system. In most instances this results in the owner and therefore the consumer of the electricity, owning the system outright within the first 18 months.
The potential of this technology is enormous, in fact for so many it is life changing. The UN has recently acknowledged that Azuri Technologies is not only making a genuine difference to the threat of climate change but that it is in fact one of only 16 companies across the world that can be credited with actually halting the advancement of climate change.