A team of Africa’s green energy experts would be hoping to within 18 months identify the key challenges that stand in the way of a practical green energy revolution in the economies of four African countries – Nigeria; Kenya; Rwanda; and Ethiopia.
Comprising of whizzes in the diverse aspects of climate change; environment; and renewable energy, the team disclosed at their second brainstorming session in Abuja that they would within the 18-month long research, generate questions and answers that will address the energy and environmental needs of the four African countries.
Operating on the platform of the Governing Inclusive Green Growth in Africa (GIGGA) that’s funded by the United Kingdom Research Council, the think-tank explained their mandate was specific on finding ways to boost the capacity of the four countries to produce more energy from renewable technology to support their economies.
Team leader of the group, Prof. Chukwumerije Okereke, a professor of environment and climate change explained that GIGGA was set up to brainstorm on the capacity gap in green growth in the selected countries.
He said: “It pools African academics, NGOs, policy makers and business persons to come together and think about burning research questions in understanding how Africa can transition from a brown economy to a green economy.
“We have three work packages that include mapping the green growth initiative across Africa to understand who is doing what and motivations for the actions taken. We are also going to review the academic works on what they have published on green growth.”
Besides Okereke, another member of the team, Prof. Kenneth Amaechi, who explained its adopted working strategy to influence policy implementation on green economy in the countries, said: “We are working with agencies to help policy formulators understand the concept (green energy) better for implementation.”
Amaechi, called for a repackaging of knowledge and conversations on renewable energy in the continent to enable policy formulators understand better the significance of green energy projects in closing the energy gaps of African countries.
Similarly, President of the Sustainable Energy Practitioners Association of Nigeria (SEPAN), Dr. Magnus Onuoha, who is also a member of the team, stated that the job-creation capacity of renewable energy was enormous to be ignored by Africa which still revels in poverty and underemployment.
“In terms of value addition, for one megawatt of solar deployed, there are over 3,000 jobs cutting across the value chain,” Onuoha said, while asserting that Nigeria’s petroleum industry has been able to create just about 50,000 jobs in the 50 years of its existence in the country.
He noted that Africa stood to gain more from turning its brown economy to a green one, adding, “We need to as a matter of fact harness our resources through intense researches. So, our issue is a research challenge in Nigeria, we don’t need to import solar panels as we can make them.”
Buttressing these points, the Director of power, energy, climate change and green growth at the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Anthony Nyong, said Nigeria could lose such benefits of geometric job creation from green energy if capacity issues identified were not dealt with.
Nyong stated that: “Most of the processes for these jobs are in the manufacturing stage, by the time they come to us, we probably have only two jobs left; one that installs and the other that washes the solar panels and they are nasty jobs.”