• IRENA and the AUC have joined hands to strengthen Africa’s response to COVID-19 pandemic through renewable energy
  • Their cooperation will target renewables deployment for health facilities in rural areas and power medical equipment and related critical services
  • Both believe using renewable energy for an energy related response to COVID-19 will uplift the life of Africans long after the pandemic as well

One among the befitting responses to COVID-19 pandemic would be to stand up strong and resilient – and that’s what the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and African Union Commission (AUC) plan to do for the African continent through renewable energy. The two will be working together to ‘bolster’ Africa’s response to the pandemic through strengthening its critical services with the help of renewables.

In a virtual meeting held between the two, both IRENA and AUC said the cooperation will use renewable energy to power medical equipment in rural health centers and communities to deal with the health challenge and also electrify water pumping to improve hygiene.

The focus of the partnership will be on innovative solutions to drive the development of renewable energy including decentralized systems and increase access to energy across the continent. Renewables-based solutions, explains IRENA, are central to the achievement of universal access as these offer the most ‘plausible’ and ‘sustainable’ energy related response to COVID-19 ‘which will continue to uplift the quality of life for millions of Africans long after the pandemic’.

“Renewable energy can cost-effectively supply the critical power needed in Africa’s rural communities to supply health centres, facilitate the provision of clean water, support agriculture and facilitate other productive sectors. Such measures are critical to the continent’s ability to deal with the pandemic,” stressed IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera.

Among other initiatives, IRENA is working on Clean Energy Corridors initiatives in East, West and Southern Africa through which renewables deployment is encouraged in these regions by encouraging cross-border trade of renewable energy. AUC will also collaborate with IRENA on this project.

AUC’s Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Dr Amani Abou-Zeid said it was important for both the organizations to work together to mobilize support, from private sector as well, to provide electricity to health facilities and associated services for fighting the pandemic in Africa, especially the rural and peri-urban areas.