Africans slow in opening up to renewables, but capable of creating a “Green Africa”

Europe, North America and some other major economies such as India and China are already well on their way to a clean energy future, but Africa, however, is lagging. Evidence of this is that there is currently one only clean energy investor event in Africa: Viridis Africa. Nonetheless, its organisers are confident that with investment, renewable energy can bring about poverty eradication and sustainable development. That’s why they will be holding a “matchmaking platform” for investors in October.
Africans slow in opening up to renewables, but capable of creating a “Green Africa”

It is not surprising that the event will take place in what is rapidly becoming one of Africa’s most attractive locations for renewable energy investors: South Africa, since it will be dedicated to African business owners who seek funding to introduce clean technology solutions and services. African and foreign investors will be in attendance at the event, which will be held on 16 and 17 October 2012 at the Killamey Country Club, Lower Houghton.

The conference organizers are expecting that the Viridis Africa (which means “Green Africa” in Latin) event will in no small measure bring attention to the clean technology development efforts in Africa as one of the avenues by which socio-economic benefits could be derived i.e. lead to poverty reduction, disease prevention through such methods as improved waste management and water treatment technologies, and higher literacy levels due to access to electricity, and of course create employment.

Solutions to mitigate climate change will be articulated at the conference. Though Africa emits barely 3% of the world’s greenhouse gases, the continent is most affected. Experts agree that Africa is the most vulnerable continent and least able to adapt to a new hurdle in the fight against extreme poverty and disease. For many sub-Saharan African countries, climate change means more frequent drought and floods, water scarcity, and increased health challenges such as under-nutrition.

Global warming could cause temperature rises double those elsewhere. The consequence would be dramatic declines in rainfall and a fall in crops. There are likely to be severe water shortages in many parts of the African continent.

According to Suza Adam, managing director of Spindle Communications, and organizers of Viridis Africa, “it’s also imperative for those responsible for the emission of the greater percentage of greenhouse gases to commit to reducing emission at home. The reluctance of greater emitters of greenhouse gases to cutting down emission at home is questionable if we are all committed to global warming reduction.”

Buying emission rights abroad is good, continues Adam, but cutting down emission at home is better. “We all have a responsibility to do research and come up with ways in which renewable energy can bring about sustainability to struggling communities. Since renewable energy applications most times takes power generation into the citizenry. It will help us lower our carbon footprint while gauging our energy barometer,” Adam says.

“Our industries should be bolstered by sustainability initiatives and carbon finance should be used to scale up renewable energy and low-income household energy projects. It will amaze us if we sincerely cut our carbon emissions and implement strategies to adopt and mitigate the risk climate change has on the society.

“We should undertake energy saving initiatives, e.g. replace our light bulbs with energy saving lights, install timers in various points and turn off all geysers, etc.

“We should highlight how renewable energy can bring about poverty eradication and sustainable development; how it can bring about agricultural development, productivity and rural sustainability.

“Let’s be able to show the link between renewable energy and food security, sustainable agriculture and rural development. How renewable energy can bring about energy security, food security, quality and sovereignty.”

Since the severe climatic impact foreseen for Africa is likely to be unavoidable, much focus is needed to mitigate the hardship that this climatic change would bring on to the shores and hinterland of this continent. In simple terms this means that novel technologies needed to be introduced to address the severe impact that negative climate change would have on the provision of food security, health, and wealth of the continent inhabitants.

Clean technologies are being designed and produced in a most advanced fashion, incorporating the bleeding edge of scientific knowledge and application such as in material sciences, nanoengineering, biotechnology, genetically-modified organisms, chemistry, green industrial processes, etc.

The most important aspect of these technologies is that they are designed to bring about sustainable environmental and economical solutions. It is these solutions that if they were to be implemented in Africa, their impact will be the greatest.

Thus developed countries’ technologies and solutions would go a long way to alleviate the impact of severe weather patterns heading towards Africa. Such technology implementation ought to be done in a manner that is commercially viable so as to ensure the rapid and continued deployment of such initiatives. Simply said commercial initiative must be seemlessly integrated with socio-economic needs and replicated most widely.

Viridis Africa is inviting entrepreneurs to submit a clean tech business plan or investment proposal to the organisers of the event. Participating in the event will allow clean technology business owners to raise capital for expansion, acquiring new technology, opening new markets and up scaling production.

Business plans should be send to Suza Adam before 30 August 2012.

For additional information:

Viridis Africa

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