African campaigners call for people-centered shift to clean energy

Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA)
Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA)

The transition from fossil fuels to green energy in Africa should revolve around interests of local communities to strengthen their resilience in the face of climatic stresses, campaigners said on Saturday.

Speaking in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi during the launch of the country’s green energy transition strategy backed by civil society and lenders, the campaigners stressed that its implementation will bear fruits once it captures the aspirations and specific needs of native communities affected by climate change.

Mithika Mwenda, the executive director of Nairobi-based Pan African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA) noted that a just and people-centered transition to green energy will have profound impact on human and ecological health, growth, peace and stability.

“For the green transition to be just, vulnerable people cannot be kept out of decision-making table,” Mwenda remarked, adding that rapid uptake of renewable energy in Africa has been transforming livelihoods.

Kenya, Botswana, Cameroon, Morocco, Nigeria are among countries that will benefit from the launch of a project dubbed “Ensuring a People-Centered Energy Transition in Africa through Civil Society Engagement” funded by overseas donors.

The project according to Mwenda aims to place communities at the heart of renewable energy adoption in order to tackle the climate crisis, poverty, air pollution and habitats depletion in the continent.

Augustine Ndjamnshi, the chair of PACJA’s Technical and Political Committee said that greater access to clean energy will be key to strengthening resilience of local communities besides hastening attainment of Africa’s sustainability agenda.

Some of the greatest beneficiaries of the new green energy vision for the continent includes women and youth, subsistence farmers and nomads, according to Ndjamnshi.

He added that fiscal incentives, private sector investments and enhanced oversight was key to tackle energy poverty in Africa that has derailed climate fight while slowing down the continent’s modernization.

Dan Marangu, the director of Renewable Energy in Kenya’s Ministry of Energy said the government had enacted robust policies and legislation to decarbonize the sector through adoption of solar, wind and geothermal sources of power.

According to Marangu, ongoing reforms in the energy sector coupled with adequate funding seeks to ensure a critical mass of the populace benefits from the transition from carbon-emitting to cleaner sources that are affordable. Enditem

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