COVID-19 is a huge threat to Africa’s off-grid energy sector and its millions of customers – here’s what needs to be done:
As COVID-19 continues to make its way through Africa, this global pandemic poses a huge threat to the off-grid energy sector and the millions of customers it serves. UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 – energy for all – unlocks the potential of people, businesses, communities and whole countries at scale. Access to energy is the trigger for economic growth as it powers sustainable development by providing opportunities not previously possible.
Yet governments are faced with an almost impossible task: the competing duality of putting health of citizens first while also ensuring economies do not collapse, which itself would lead to irretrievable damage to health, education and livelihood opportunities for all.
While 840 million people still live without electricity and a further 1 billion live without a reliable electrical supply, significant progress has been made in recent years on expanding energy access globally. But without urgent action, off-grid energy could essentially be wiped out – a major step back for universal energy access and economic development.