Clean energy accelerates sustainable development in East Africa

sustainable energyThe UN-backed clean energy initiative aims to change the outlook for Mozambique’s Namacurra district and kickstart sustainable development for the benefit of people, relocated to the area following the rains in 2015

Namacurra district, in the Zambezia province of Mozambique, lacks some of the basic services such as schools, health centres or even energy.

The United Nations human settlements programme, UN-Habitat, and Portuguese energy company EDP are constructing a solar energy system to supply 12 classrooms – which have been built to withstand 180-km per hour winds – with clean, renewable energy.

This will have a huge impact on the community because, as well as enabling around 1,300 students to study at night, people living in the area will, for a small fee, be able to charge their mobile phones, and access the internet.

They will also stand a better chance of surviving when the next cyclones and floods hit the country: Mozambique has developed an early-warning system, with SMS alerts sent out by the government, but this only works in communities with access to energy.

Scaling up across East Africa

Although the impetus for the project comes from EDPs philanthropic arm, the company sees it as a sensible investment in Africa, in line with the UN’s call for companies to play their part in the move to a green economy.

“The African continent is surely the continent with more natural resources – such as the sun, wind, water, biomass and others – that allow the use of renewable energies,” said Guilherme Collares Pereira, director of International Relations at EDP.

The project in the district of Namacurra is one of six, in Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and Malawi, that will be receiving support from EDP. At the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, which hosts more than 186,000 people, a mini-grid will supply pay-as-you-go electricity to refugees according to their consumption needs.

“The potential is enormous: renewable energy technology is getting better, more efficient and more resilient. There is also an abundance of mechanisms and even financing from countries and the international community to support these projects. Everything is in place for its growth and it is imperative that the private sector enters this market,” Pereira added.

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