Turkish minister points out electricity a necessity for economic activity
SUB-SAHARAN Africa has a huge potential to generate energy for the more than 600 million people who remain without access to electricity. Turkish Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Sayin Alaboyun, pictured below, said at the start of the G20 Summit in Istanbul last week, that a lack of energy was also a hindrance to economic growth.
According to research by the International Energy Agency, 1.1 billion people globally are without access to electricity and 26 billion don’t have access to clean cooking facilities.
Alaboyun said 95 percent of the global figure is based on sub-Saharan African and developing Asia, with 84 percent reflecting rural areas that created a substantial barrier toward development.
He said although it was difficult to quantify the effect of energy poverty on individual communities and households, studies had shown that equitable access to electricity is a key driver of sustainable development.
“In other words, access to sources of energy stimulates local economic activity including business and creating employment. Moreover, access to energy is necessary to support basic social services such as functional refrigeration systems that are so critical for storing vaccines in rural areas.”
Alaboyun said access to energy for the individual household was equally important, as it allowed children to study longer in the evening, something which has been shown to raise the quality of the overall educational objectives of a country.
He added that the substitution of wood burning stoves with electric stoves had also contributed significantly to health improvements.
“Turkey started its G20 presidency this year with the theme on inclusiveness. The narrative inclusiveness is aimed at helping increase the influence of the G20 in nonG20 countries.
“We believe the G20 is a great platform to bring together the biggest energy producers and consumers with policy makers in the world. In this manner our efforts focused on the sub-Saharan Africa region where the energy access problem is experienced most intensely.”
Alaboyun said the Turkish government engaged with relevant international organisations, together with participants from Africa, during its Energy Sustainability Working Group meetings, and produced a G20 Energy Access Action Plan.
He said plans, programmes, reforms, goals and regulations were announced for the energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, as well. However, he cautioned that if these were not put into practice, the result could be an absence of credibility.
He said Africa’s energy sector was vital to development and since 2000, much of subSaharan Africa had experienced rapid economic growth, raising expectations of a new phase of development. Energy demand in the region grew by 45 percent from 2000 to 2012, but accounts for only four percent of the world total.
- Cape Argus
- 5 Oct 2015
- Joseph Booysen BUSINESS REPORTER firstname.lastname@example.org