The Civil Society Organizations for Clean Energy Access (ACCESS) Coalition of West Africa has called on African governments and stakeholders to make energy affordable and accessible to every sector of their economy.
This call was made during a two-day workshop at a two-day workshop organized by the ACCESS Coalition Regional Node for West Africa, Strategic Youth Network for Development (SYND) led by Chibeze Ezekiel.
The Chairman of Kenya Climate Change Working Group, John Kioli, in his address argued that even though rural areas are connected to the grid, most of them are unable to afford hence remain disconnected.
In this regard, Mr. Kioli says there is a “big correlation between climate change and energy”, hence a “need for the private sector to provide affordable and high-quality renewable energy for the populace.”
“80% of the charcoal that is produced in the villages is actually ending up in our shops, houses here in Accra, Kenya, etc in these big towns. That means we still have a challenge in access to clean energy but how can we give these people who are producing charcoal an alternative livelihood? I don’t think they like doing this in the village but they don’t have another means of production so we need to have an alternative livelihood, cooking sources, and sustain the environment,” he said.
The Executive Director of SYND Chibeze Ezekiel emphasized the need for young people to venture into renewable energy which is a viable business.
He added that the youth constituted a greater portion of the population and were full of energy, skills, and intellectual abilities that could be harnessed and multiuse, towards climate justice.
He called for capacity building and training of youth in climate advocacy, engage the youth in policymaking, as well as mainstreaming climate change into the educational curriculum, among others.
The workshop which hosted participants from Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria aimed at developing an ACCESS West Africa Advocacy Strategy as well as build capacity of participating groups on the AfDB and World Bank engagement process.
In attendance was the International Coordinator of Alliance of Civil Society Organizations for Clean Energy Access [ACCESS] Coalition Jacqueline Kimou, the World Bank David Vilar, Country Economist of AfDB in Ghana, Mr Camara Bumi, Ghana’s Energy Commission Mr. Kofi Agyarko, British High Commissioner of Ghana, and ACEP.