Affordable and reliable energy provides the right platform for businesses in Africa to create and retain jobs for its fast growing population as well as make the continent sustainable, the Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Energy Plc, Roger Brown, has said.
Speaking at the ongoing Africa Oil Week (AOW) in Cape Town, South Africa, Brown said access to energy and energy security remain critical for the continent to drive the realisation of United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 7.
According to him, up to 600 million Africans have little or no access to energy, because energy infrastructure has remained poor and lacking the right investments.
“Affordable and reliable energy allows businesses to create jobs in Africa, giving the fast growing population a future in their country of birth, thereby avoiding mass migration,” he told attendees at the conference.
He added: “900 million Africans cook using biomass, and this is causing all sorts of problems – it steals time from the women and children who have to collect firewood for cooking, it causes smoke pollution that in turn causes poor health, and it’s estimated to cost the lives of nearly 500,000 Africans every year. This is unacceptable and we need to change it.”
The Seplat boss further explained that: “Where people do have access to electricity, as is the case in Nigeria, it’s often from small-scale generators that run on diesel or petrol, which are imported, and that’s part of the problem we have to address, especially in Nigeria. So, it’s clear we need to increase access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy, but at the moment only three per cent of the world’s investment in energy systems goes into Africa.”
Africa, he stressed, has the right to develop and must use its natural resources to do that, noting that the transition cannot be funded solely by debt or outsourced.
He said countries like Nigeria needs to move away from reliance on diesel/PMS generators, as that will improve health, and lower cost of electricity, which is severely holding back development in all sectors.
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