Mr Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the UN, said over 620 million Africans lack access to electricity and that 300 million would still lack access by 2040, a decade after the UN target of developmental goals for universal energy.
“This is intolerable, avoidable and profoundly unfair. It leaves the World’s poorest people to pay the highest prices for power,’’ the envoy said.
He spoke in London at the launch of the Africa Energy Campaign initiated by the U.K. Department for International Development. The event was also attended by Nigeria’s Vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo.
The former envoy said that the African Progress panel of the UN, which he chairs, would help to address the issue of easy access to affordable energy.
Anan said that African leaders have no choice about tackling the region’s chronic deficit in energy generation and access.
“Where the leaders and investment partners do have a choice is in deciding how to tackle the region’s energy crisis.
“Africa does not have to follow the carbon-intensive pathway of the energy practices of the rich and emerging countries which has brought the world to the brinks of catastrophe.
“Africa is rich in untapped energy potential including renewable sources such as sun, wind and hydro’’ all of which had advantage of speed and scope to decentralization,’’ he said.
He said low carbon development had the potential to enhance economic development of the continent.
According to him, the harsh effects were felt by households and investors while countries were losing out from failure to harness productive technologies to broaden their developmental base.
Annan said that African leaders had the unique opportunity to deliver on the promise of energy for all and called on the nations to set their respective timetable to achieve universal energy access.