China is transforming the energy infrastructure landscape in Africa with large-sale electrifying projects
IN a remote village of southwest Ethiopia’s Omer River Valley, about 1,800 km away from the capital city of Addis Ababa, the light of knowledge shines out of darkness - quite literally.
In the shabby classrooms of local elementary schools, even the most basic lighting facilities are not available. Often, students have no choice but to take classes in the open courtyards.
In fact, even in big cities such as Addis Ababa, power outages are common occurrences. More than 600 million Africans still live without electricity and most families use traditional biomass as cooking fuel, according to the World Bank. Power shortages in over 30 African countries have resulted in major outages and over-reliance on quick temporary solutions that are both expensive and harmful to the environment.
“Africa loses roughly about 4 to 5 percent of its GDP because of its weak energy infrastructure,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank. Liu Zhenya, Chairman of the Global Energy Interconnection Development and Cooperation Organization, noted that, in fact, Africa has abundant renewable energy resources, which can play a major role in resolving its energy shortage. He said that Africa’s energy industry has a great potential, as the continent accounts for 10 percent, 32 percent, and 40 percent of global hydropower, wind power and solar energy reserves, respectively.
Without universal electricity access, Africa, says Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, will not be able to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He said Ethiopia has made clear that renewable energy can be a key driver of economic development, emphasizing on sustainable clean energy as an integral part of the country’s as well as the continent’s economic restructuring.
New renewable energy solutions provided by Huawei on display in Cape Town, South Africa in May 2017