This week we witnessed a significant day for our industry. UK Minister of State for International Development, Grant Shapps, announced the British Government’s intention to invest, both politically and financially, in energy poverty in Africa.
Galvanised by a recent trip to Tanzania, Minister of State Grant Shapps is bringing together experts from the industry to help implement DFID's Energy Africa campaign, generating ideas that will hopefully translate into meaningful market enhancement.
With over a quarter of the world’s population currently living without grid electricity, and around 600 million of those in Africa, there is little argument of the urgency. And in just a few years, off grid lighting and electrification products have responded very effectively; the market has grown at such a pace it has answered the energy access problem for 35 million of these people across the continent already. Thanks to technological and business model innovations and advancements it is now possible for entrepreneurs across Africa to effectively sell affordable, safe and durable products to reach the ever growing demand.
GOGLA is proud to be the voice of this dynamic industry; and one which is gaining traction and attracting ever larger investment globally. Yet, while the trends are promising, there remain a number of barriers for this young industry to overcome. Lack of finance, unsupportive policy environments and poor quality products threatening to spoil the market are the key issues which we face as an industry. Support from DFID, as it promotes distributed energy solutions as a fast and cost effective way of addressing energy poverty, is a big step forward. We wholly support this initiative and look forward to working with the Minister and his team in helping reach universal energy access.
By Anna Wells, GOGLA Senior Communications Adviser
24th July 2015