Energy Catastrophe or Secure, African Cities
OneWorld CEO and founding director, Belynda Petrie was invited to provide input on a thought-provoking article published online, in African Cities. The article centred on the energy crises experienced in many African cities, an issue compounded by growing urban populations, weak infrastructure and climate change.
Founded in the analysis provided for under the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA): Economic Report for Africa (ERA), Ms. Petrie’s insights gave context and stark perspective:
“The rapid rate of urbanisation is a major challenge for cities throughout the continent, where the historical deficit of infrastructure will see energy crises looming large…even without urbanisation or population growth,
Africa has an enormous infrastructure deficit, which makes desired industrialisation impossible.
Nodes where populations are increasing most rapidly include Tanzania in East Africa and Nigeria in West Africa. In Nigeria, the energy crisis is beyond crisis proportions – it’s become a way of life and it’s only going to get worse, with the country being negatively affected by the slump in the oil industry. Nigeria is heavily reliant on generators, and thus locked into diesel imports. Unless we shift away from the ‘business-as-usual’ scenario described in the (UNECA) report, cities throughout Africa are going to be in a very bad shape. Lagos, Abuja and many other Nigerian cities are hotspots because of population growth and urbanisation. If Africa continues along the path it is on now, reliance on fossil fuel imports will increase, leaving countries subject to price vagaries and unacceptably high levels of energy insecurity. The only solution is renewable options, particularly in growing urban centres, given that these are also often hubs of innovation and skills.”