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COP28: CSOs advocate swift energy transition in Africa

A coalition of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in Africa has called for a swift 100 per cent just energy transition in the continent.

COP28 facility in Dubai

The coalition made the appeal on Tuesday, December 5, 2023, in Dubai during a side event at the ongoing climate change conference known as COP28.

The coalition comprised the Friends of the Earth Africa (FoEA), Climate Action Network Africa (CAN-Africa), Africa Coal Network (ACN), Hands of Mother Earth (HOME), Africa working group against Geoengineering and Environmental Rights Action (ERA).

Discussants at the event noted that energy transition from fossil fuels to the renewable was more than ever necessary in Africa due to the climate crisis that is hindering development of the region.

Leading the conversation, Marina Agortimevor, Coordinator of the ACN, said it was time to consider the huge renewable energy potential of Africa.

If there are barriers to a just transition, she said, it called for an opportunity to engage in other ways to overcome those barriers.

She regretted that about 600 million Africans lacked access to electricity.

“Some of the barriers that ACN has identified as possible hindrances to the desired transition to 100 per cent clean renewables is poor access to finance to speed up the transition.

“But with the operationalisation of Loss and Damage Funds here at COP28, and hopes that these funds will be easily accessible by those who need it, will help to reduce this identified gap,” Marina said.

She, however, stressed the need for technology and knowledge transfer to Africans to fill the observably gap on the transition plan.

Sharing a similar sentiment, Safiatou Nana, Regional Coordinator of CAN-Africa, canvassed decentralised off grid system for the transition.

This, according to her, will put management of the energy in the hands of the communities who need and use them.

“Collaborations by communities, civil society organisations and the government, and a good legal framework will be a boost to the move to 100 per cent renewables,” she said.

For Ubrei-Joe Maimoni, the Climate Justice and Energy Lead for FoEA, the event host, he called a clearly spelt out framework, whch goal is measureable, people centred and serve the purpose of the continent with the appropriate budgetary allocations and government support.

These support, he said, must include good political will and transfer of subsidies from the polluting fossil fuels industry to renewables.

Without these, Maimoni, who doubles as the Programme Manager for ERA, said the process would still be a high hanging fruit process.

“We should not allow this transition to be a renewal of energy colonisation, and Africans must be at the centre of the pathways to 100 per cent renewables.”

By Usman Aliyu

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