African countries continue to be over-reliant on non-renewable resources for their social, political and economic survival. African countries use non-renewable resources for economic gains and sometimes personal gains. The over-reliance of Africans on non-renewable resources continues to disadvantage the continent.
The option of using renewable resources has not been explored. Africa is a rich continent, not only with non-renewable resources but renewable resources as well. A new approach should therefore be developed to promote and encourage renewable energy/resource-use policies that embrace innovation, responsible governance, and inclusive processes for socio-economic transformation and positive growth in Africa.
Millions of people in Africa, especially in rural areas live without electricity. The world we live in is becoming more and more dependent on electrical energy. The sadness in this fact is that Africans continues to rely on outdated and to an extent, western techniques which involve the burning of fossil fuels. This system is practically and realistically unsustainable in the long-run.
The depletion of these resources is something that is bound to happen in the nearest future, and it would pose an impassable obstacle towards the future growth of humanity. For the purposes of ensuring the protection of the environment, responding to political challenges of decarbonisation, efficient use of resources, creation of employment in Africa, enhancing human welfare, fueling economic growth and socio-economic transformation of the African countries, we need to promote the use of renewable resources and internalise its use for sustainable growth.
African policymakers can maximise the benefits of the transition to sustainable energy for their national economies. Doubling the share of renewable resources in the global energy mix pays back in terms of economic growth, social welfare, job creation and overall trade balances. These benefits depend on a set of enabling factors, such as a diversified economy and sufficient market capacity to absorb the opportunities for job creation, including training and education that help build a skilled and versatile workforce.
Economic growth and transformation also depend critically on the increase in investments in renewable energy deployment without reducing investment in other economic sectors. The use of renewable resources can, therefore, be a cog in socio-economic transformation. But despite its importance, there are no notable investments in the use of these resources in Africa.
The global clean energy race is essential, and winners in this race will experience many political and economic benefits in years to come. Renewable energy can also help improve political ties between countries by sharing technological know-how. Large renewable energy projects could even be collaboration works of two or more different countries.
By Joseph NM Tobias
Email address: tobbyjosephhotmail.co.za