The ambitious Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), an African-led plan to add 10,000 MW of additional renewable energy on the continent by 2020, has received over $10 billion worth of backing from the international community at COP21.
At an event on the sidelines of the Paris climate meeting, the European Union, Sweden and G7 jointly pledged $10 billion. In particular, Germany will contribute $3.25 billion, France $2.2 billion, Sweden $500 million and Canada CA$110 million to the initiative, which will provide clean power to millions across the continent.
United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Executive Director Achim Steiner said, “Africa’s renewable energy revolution will ensure access to clean, reliable and efficient energy, while ensuring we do not add to the greenhouse gas emissions we are gathered here in Paris to reduce. The Africa Renewable Energy Initiative aims to do just that. Such leadership from Africa, and the financial backing from the international community announced today, provides fresh hope that we can tackle the twin challenges of sustainable development and climate change.”
African Development Bank (AfDB) President Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina said, “Africa is tired of being in the dark. The Lack of electricity has put the brakes on Africa’s industrialization. Through the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, we can sustain fast economic growth in Africa and on a low carbon development pathway.”
Approximately 600 million people have no access to electricity in Africa, with the figure expected to rise to 700 million by 2030 without further action, a 2015 UNEP report found. As a result, many rely on wood or other biomass to cook and heat their homes, leading to hundreds of thousands of deaths each year from indoor air pollution.
AREI- which was launched by representatives of the African Union, the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment, and the African Development Bank, among others-aims to help achieve sustainable development and enhanced well-being by ensuring universal access to clean and affordable energy.
In its second phase, the initiative is targeting the mobilization of Africa’s massive renewable resources, such as solar, geothermal and wind, to generate at least 300 GW by 2030, more than doubling current capacity.