ETHIOPIA is the latest country to back UK’s Energy Africa campaign, which aims to accelerate universal energy access in sub-Saharan Africa. An estimated 5 million households in Ethiopia lack regular electricity access. This not only disrupts daily life but is also a barrier to the country’s economic growth. Across Africa, outages cost countries 1-2 percent of their annual GDP.
At a meeting between UK’s international development minister Nick Hurd and African leaders at the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, last week, both sides pledged to boost solar energy access in a deal signed with Britain.
‘In Ethiopia I saw for myself the difference that household solar capability can make to an entire family,’ Hurd said. ‘Affordable, reliable electricity means children can do their homework after dark, women and girls are safer at night, and families are not forced to rely on expensive and toxic kerosene. And more than that – the mobile payments system, which is core to this solar technology, means people without bank accounts can access finance and build a credit history for the very first time,’ he added.
More and more countries in Africa are joining the Energy Africa campaign. This new agreement with Ethiopia is another step towards overcoming the barriers stifling the household solar market and transforming the prospects of hundreds of millions of people. With the support of countries like Ethiopia, the Energy Africa campaign will help achieve universal energy access by 2030.
Since the launch of the campaign, African support has continued to grow. Ethiopia joins Malawi, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria and Somalia who have already pledged to join Africa’s solar revolution.