- Bboxx and UCL report links economic prosperity in Sub-Saharan Africa with off-grid solar
- Writers of the report believe there must be supportive policy environment to ensure solar electricity is used for commercial, agricultural or industrial applications
- Energy policies should be gender inclusive and gender sensitive to foster more inclusive economic prosperity
Governments and policymakers in Sub-Saharan Africa need to prioritize off-grid solar urgently if they wish to ‘accelerate inclusive and sustainable economic development’, claims a report by Bboxx and University College London (UCL). The university has participated in the report through the UCL Engineering for International Development Centre (EFID).
“We have found extensive evidence of the irrefutable link between greater access to solar energy in off-grid communities in Sub-Saharan Africa and economic development and prosperity,” said UCL’s Dr. Priti Parikh.
Seeing a direct correlation between the 2 aspects, the report writers argue that inequality in energy access in the region always existed, prior the advent of COVID-19. Now, as part of the ‘build back better’ sentiment, governments need to design supportive policy environments to be lenient with energy consumers who are struggling to make bill payments on time. Incentives should also be offered to bring down energy costs, and stimulate local economic development.
Governments must develop policies to ensure solar electricity is used not only for lighting or television, it also needs to be used for commercial, agricultural or industrial uses to ensure economic growth.
All kinds of energy policies must also be gender inclusive and gender sensitive. The writers stress that women’s experiences must be incorporated into energy policymaking and project planning to ‘foster’ more inclusive economic prosperity from energy.
“All the talk of building back better from Covid needs to confront the hard truths about the terrible inequality of energy access, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Providing universal access to clean energy is a crucial catalyst for shaping the green and inclusive recovery that we must deliver,” added Senior Adviser to Nick Hurd.