Ahead of the crucial COP27 climate talks, a new campaign is boosting African efforts to seek greater global funding for affordable green energy – essential for adaptation to the climate crisis. The campaign calls for wealthy nations to greatly increase climate adaptation funding, and to ensure a significant share of this funding supports access to green, affordable energy for people facing climate catastrophe.
Power Up is uniting and amplifying African voices in pursuit of climate justice, including organizations powering up communities most affected by energy poverty. Dr Sheila Oparaocha, Director of the ENERGIA Network, said: “At COP27, taking place in Africa, world leaders can deliver climate justice and change the course of history with action to invest in affordable, sustainable energy that leaves no one behind.”
“More finance must flow from nations responsible for the climate crisis to those in the greatest danger – and money already promised must be delivered. Crucially, using adaptation funding to widen access to sustainable and affordable energy will ensure African communities are better prepared for the challenges ahead.”
Power Up is working to unlock more ambitious pledges from wealthy countries, starting with action at November’s COP27 summit and continuing through the ongoing UNFCCC process that guides global climate action. Power Up members call on NGOs, businesses, civil society organizations, faith groups and other organizations across society to join and back the campaign.
More than 600 million African people go without access to electricity, and more than 900 million without safe cooking facilities – blocking development and stopping communities from adapting to the threats posed by climate change.
Solar water pumps can make Africa’s agricultural land more resilient and productive – currently, just 7% is irrigated – while establishing cold chains equivalent to wealthy nations would raise countries’ food supplies by 15%.
Powering up will help health services respond to health challenges – 60% of Africa’s clinics lack access to electricity – and improve digital connectivity for education and information, including early warning of natural disasters.
Renewable energy also boosts incomes and economic growth. Globally, it could create 14 million jobs by 2030. And research from the continent suggests that for every new job in the off-grid energy sector, up to five times more employment is created through gained productivity.
Locally generated renewable energy brings these benefits cheaper, faster, and reaches more people than new fossil fuel infrastructure. But the African Development Bank reports an annual energy finance gap for the continent of 17 to 25 billion USD.
The growing list of frontline organizations backing Power Up includes:
Smiling Through Light – Providing affordable solar lighting to families in Sierra Leone, using a woman-to-woman sales model.
Ignite Power – delivering solar-powered irrigation to Rwanda’s farmers.
Zonke Energy – bringing clean energy to off-grid township communities in South Africa, with mini-grids designed for urban settings.
Kakuma Ventures – bringing solar-powered Wi-Fi to one of the world’s largest refugee camps, supporting skills and entrepreneurship.
Innocent Tshilombo, Kamuma Ventures Co-founder and Managing Director, said: “I know the power of green, affordable energy to change lives. But organizations like mine need much more support to scale up our work. We’re playing our part. In communities where the need is greatest – now, politicians and global funders must step up. The more people back Power Up, the louder the call for action.”
Power Up is amplifying African calls to increase total climate adaptation funding and to spend a significant proportion on supporting energy access. The campaign will build public support for action and back African policymakers to pursue this goal at COP27 and beyond.
The campaign will initially focus on five African countries with the potential to be trailblazers in growing energy access – Kenya, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Tanzania. But in 2023, Power Up is set to expand its focus on countries worldwide affected by energy poverty.