Africa’s modern-day transformation process, from its economic growth to expanding diversification, is an encouraging development, but investments in renewable energy will need to be considered to sustain the continent’s evolving status. Solar energy is now a cheaper alternative to fossil fuel, and it is a form of fuel that can be harnessed anywhere in the world, which makes it the logical preference ahead of resources that are scarcely available and can only be uncovered with the right equipment. Africa is blessed with renewable energy resources, including wind, sun and hydro. With the help of policy makers to create frameworks that promote hefty investments and expedite market development through structured policies, not to mention the approval of the regional masses, renewable energy can assist Africa in keeping up with its own progress. Sanjeev Mansotra, a prospering entrepreneur and businessman, reveals why renewable energy is essential for Africa’s present and future.
Africa’s current population growth rate is unprecedented, defying belief almost. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the continent is expected to double in its population by 2050, reaching a sum of at least 20 billion citizens, nearly half of which (40 percent) will be living in rural conditions. On average, Africa’s economies are growing at a rate of 4 percent per year and six of the world’s ten most rapidly growing economies through the past decade were in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2010, roughly 590 million Africans, which equated to 57 percent of the population, were unable to access electricity and 700 million, totaling 68 percent of the continent, lived on a daily basis without the presence of clean cooking facilities. Assuming that these current trends continue, Sanjeev Mansotra shares that approximately 655 million people in Africa will have zero access to power by the year 2030, and 866 million will be incapable of using clean cooking equipment. These are basic necessities of human life and the introduction of more renewable energy outlets within Africa will provide the means for the locals to receive them.
If more access to electricity was prevalent in Africa, or anywhere for that matter, communities would become exceedingly safe as opposed to an area that is engulfed by darkness. Sanjeev Mansotra states services such as schools and hospitals would, naturally, be proposed and hopefully established shortly thereafter. He further states that mini-grids are surfacing as a more viable option for cost-effective and trustworthy electricity in rural areas and The World Bank Organization has already invested in about 25 percent of mini grid projects within the developing world.
With the rising concerns of global warming, the conversation surrounding renewable energy sources as increased significantly in recent years. Recent studies have demonstrated that utilizing renewable energy could help minimize poverty in developing nations.
Due to the lagging and inconsistent supply of electricity available, Sanjeev Mansotra states many African farmers struggle to maintain their crops. Zambian farmers frequently depend on electricity from the public grid in order to power their irrigation systems, but power outages, sometimes lasting up to ten hours in duration, often leave them helpless. Renewable energy, particularly solar methods, can improve upon the power capabilities, making it steadier for those in the surrounding areas. Such plants and projects also help reduce poverty by creating fresh job opportunities. Numerous solar energy outfits have made their presence known from Zambia in recent years, providing a fine example of renewable energy capitalization to the remainder of the continent.
Africa’s extensive exposure to sunlight is not a secret; South Africa alone receives more than 2500 hours of sunshine per year. Certain airports are found in extremely isolated geographical locations, making the electrical source an area of concern. Implementing solar technology could help meet sustainability milestones while creating vast opportunities for flight operations. Despite the high electrical demand of airports, investing in solar modules is a low emission alternative and they are designed to handle volatile weather patterns. Likewise, such projects could also positively contribute to economic growth by creating openings for business and employment.
Sanjeev Mansotra explains that for the economy, the production of renewable energy will provide Africa with a tremendous resource for international trading, as it opens the door to possible global partnerships. Entrepreneurs will recognize the numerous chances that are formed from the renewable energy industry, as there is a need for infrastructure to support the energy, and supply utilities, such as telephone and internet services, that run off of electricity. Local businesses will see a spike in growth because of the new electrical delivery systems that are a direct result of renewable energy.