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600 Million Africans Lack Electricity - Annan Panel

Can the world prevent catastrophic climate change while building the energy systems needed to sustain growth, create jobs and lift millions of people out of poverty?
05 Jun 2015 16:15

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Can the world prevent catastrophic climate change while building the energy systems needed to sustain growth, create jobs and lift millions of people out of poverty?

That question goes to the heart of the defining development challenges of the 21st century, and is the focus of this year\'s Africa Progress Panel report launched today.

Speaking through video conference during the launch of the report at World Economic Forum on Africa, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, who is also the Chairperson of the Africa Progress Panel, said that question is vital for Africa.

Annan said there is now a real and present danger that climate change will stall and then reverse the fragile gains made over the past two decades.

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The report entitled Power People Planet: Seizing Africa\'s Energy and Climate Opportunities, explains the bold steps that leaders globally and in Africa must take to achieve this vision. Above all, the report shows that the global climate moment is also Africa\'s moment – Africa\'s moment to lead the world.

The report says over 600 million people still do not have access to modern energy. It  show that Sub-Saharan Africa\'s electricity consumption is less than that of Spain and on current trends it will take until 2080 to for every African to have access to electricity.

Graca Mercel, the wife to former South African President, Nelson Mandela who also a member Africa Progress Panel said  such findings were shocking especially for a continent endowed with vast resources.

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According to the report, over half of Africa\'s population lacks access to basic electricity and clean cooking facilities – and the numbers are rising.

Africa according to the authors of the report stands to gain from developing low-carbon energy, and the world stands to gain from Africa by avoiding the high-carbon pathway followed by today\'s rich world and emerging markets.

Caroline Kende-Robb, Executive Director Africa Progress Panel says unlocking this “win-win” will not be easy.

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She says it will require decisive action on the part of Africa\'s leaders, not least in reforming inefficient, inequitable and often corrupt utilities that have failed to develop flexible energy systems.

The Africa Progress Panel (APP) consists of ten distinguished individuals from the private and public sector who advocate for equitable and sustainable development for Africa.

Kofi Annan, former Secretary-General of the United Nations and Nobel laureate, chairs the panel. Other members of the panel include Irish musician  Bob Geldof, former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and rights advocate Graça Machel, widow of late South African President Nelson Mandela.