Africa’s growth slowed by over-dependence on traditional energy sources

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Overreliance on traditional sources of energy has slowed growth on the African continent and hampered industrial expansion, a science and technology promoting entity said on Thursday.

Zambia National STEM Foundation observed that much of Africa has lagged behind in terms of economic development because of heavy reliance on conventional sources of energy, some of which are increasingly becoming unpredictable due to climate change.

Michelo Moonga, chief executive officer of the Foundation, explained that the tendency to rely on single energy sources has hampered industrial growth, pointing out that there exist other untapped resources of energy such as geothermal that are yet to be exploited for the benefit of the continent.

Moonga added that the African continent has not fully exploited alternative sources of energy, noting that the gaps in the energy sector present huge opportunities for investment and employment creation and called for more investments in solar energy.

“In Zambia for instance, we rely so much on hydroelectricity to an extent where power cuts bring everything to a standstill. We need to vigorously work at encouraging investments in other sources of energy such as geothermal and encourage more investment in solar energy,” Moonga said in an interview with Xinhua.

He further pointed out that investments in the energy sector are not only crucial for creating the much needed employment opportunities but also encourage technology transfer which is key to sustained growth.

Hydroelectric power dominates power generation in many African countries. In Ethiopia, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia and Zambia, hydroelectric power accounts for approximately 90 percent of all power generated, according to a 2019 report by Grantham Institute. This, experts say, is dangerous because it creates an over-reliance on hydroelectric resources. Enditem

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