A campaign to boost household solar energy to help some of Africa’s 620 million people without electricity has been launched by the UK Government.
The Energy Africa campaign announced by the Department for International Development (DfiD) aims to help increase access to power in sub-Saharan Africa, where two thirds of people do not have electricity.
It will boost the market, remove policy barriers and regulation to expansion, work with different countries to address their particular issues with rolling out solar power and provide financial support to the sector, DfID said.
It will build on changes to technology which have seen solar panels dramatically fall in price, development of batteries to store power and appliances which need less electricity and the spread of mobile payments which allow for pay-as-you-go energy.
The campaign has been backed by campaigner Bob Geldof, who said: “The stars are aligned today, we needed the technology to exist before we could electrify a continent, and now this exists.
“It is because of the UK government committing to the 0.7% target, uniquely in the G7 and at the behest of the public, that we can now actually achieve this.
“This is the moment, this is doable, this is the moment where Africa powers up, switches on and goes for it.”
International Development Secretary Grant Shapps said it was shocking that two out of three of the African population had no electricity, holding back not just homes but entire nations and costing a 1-2% of economic output in outages for African countries.
““I have seen for myself how people’s lives can be transformed with the installation of a simple solar panel system. The technology is there – all we have to do is remove the barriers stifling the market.
“This is what Energy Africa will help do. It has the power to help millions of Africans lift themselves out of poverty and transform the prospects of an entire continent – something that is good for Africa but good for Britain too,” he said.