Electricity vector de of Peace, Security and Prosperity

by Véronique Queffélec on mars 25, 2015


I had a dream and it will become a reality.

Electricity is the bearer of peace, security, and prosperity. This is why I want to help for electrification in the African continent. Electrification should be a one of the major axes for African leaders.

In Africa, 90% of the population still lives without power.

Today, at last, universal access to modern and sustainable energy is fully recognised as a major condition for human, social and economic development in the poorest regions of vulnerable countries.

Strangely enough, universal access to electrification has not before been identified as a major priority, in lieu of food and agriculture, public health, aids, water, etc. The refocusing of international solidarity came as a side effect of the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference held in Copenhagen in 2009.

Access to electricity, even in limited quantities, allows nations to break the vicious circle of extreme poverty: access to lighting; to modern communications; to groundwater pumping; to pharmaceutical and alimentary refrigeration; to agricultural modernization; to craft; etc. Therefore access to education, health, economic development and maintaining populations in rural areas are at the heart of the Millennium Development Goals.

Electricity, yes, but not in any which way

A weakness can be a strength, if properly managed. The very fact that less advanced countries are lagging behind in electricity generation and distribution equipment could be considered a positive factor, in that it allows them to short-circuit the path followed by developed countries of using coal and hydrocarbons - both unsustainable resources in the long run- and proceed directly to the next step : the use of renewable energy in competitive conditions. Education  for less advanced countries on the use of renewable energy thus has a number of positive side-effects.

Today, the African continent is the bearer of hope for its habitants and for the world. But it does not hope to reproduce the schema of developed countries who have greatly contributed to polluting the planet with a cortege of deplorable consequences for the environment.

Hoping to not pollute Africa and conscious of the world’s limited resources, I want to use renewable energy, such as solar power, in order to produce electricity where it is lacking, and also to avoid the use of fossil fuels, which are expensive and polluting.

Access to electrification based on renewable energy sources is the common factor of two major objectives, which have mobilised the United Nations for two decades: alleviation of extreme poverty and climate change mitigation.

welcome new, green projects which will allow us to provide solar energy to hundreds of millions of people in this part of the world. These technologies will also make progress with problems such as water management and agriculture thanks to electiricity playing a key role in these technologies. Even in a limited quantity, electrification permits a break with the vicious circle of extreme poverty, with lighting, internet, television, drinking water, pharmaceudical and food refrigeration, modern farming, and art. In other words, health, education, and economic development.

With what support?

On June 22, 2012, at the Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the General Secretary of the United Nations Ban Ki-Moon personally involved himself in order to affirm the priority of his mandate for the electrification by renewable energy for 1.3 million human beings still lacking it in vulnerable countries.

The initiative received an impressive boost from many parties at the Summit. Public private partnerships have been promoted to achieve UN common objectives, especially through the Global Compact, a group of influential economic actors working closely with the Secretary General.

The six largest multilateral development banks committed to the aims of Rio+20 and said they will “support the Sustainable Energy for All initiative and will participate in targeted efforts to attract and channel public and private financial commitments to meet the three objectives.” Together, the banks have pledged over $30 billion for fulfilling the objectives.

In addition, former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced   the new US-Africa Clean Energy Finance Initiative. The funds for the initiative are part of $2 billion pledged to support the initiative through the Overseas Private Investment Corporation in the form of “grants, loans and loan guarantees for policy and regulatory development, public-private energy technology partnerships, and loans and guarantees to leverage private investment in clean energy technology.”

Several private sector commitments were made as well.

Energy is an agent of change, as evidenced by the economic and cultural revolution in the way that developing countries resolve their problems.

Sustainable Energy for all should remain at the center of the international development and climate agenda moving forward. Africa has a leading role to play at the forefront of this movement.

Let us see a dream become reality : an entire continent coming out of underdevelopment by assuring to its populations universal access to electrification based on sustainable energy.

With electricity comes peace, security, and prosperity.