Prof. Shem Wandiga, a retired professor of Chemistry and former Acting Director Institute for Climate Change and Adaptation (ICCA), told a virtual press briefing that African governments are failing to prioritize climate change mitigation and adaptation activities.
Africangovernments must have robust action plans to reduce emission of greenhouse gases by venturing into new innovations,including the use of electric vehicles, solar energy, geothermal energy, wind energy and hydropower,” Prof Wandiga of Kenya said.
Other Innovations according to him should be prioritized include increased efficient use of energy in domestic buildings, transport systems,cycling and sharing of rides to work places.
Focusing on energy, he noted that only three countries-South Africa, Morocco and Egypt-have major energy projects of over 100 MW power.
The rest have the “curse of power project agreements”characterized by missed deadlines and overpricing while energy consumers complain of being burdened by high cost of electricity by power companies, it said.
Official reports indicate that the African energy situation is so dire yet only 3,106 solar power plant projects worth 236,211 MW are operating in Africa.
The good news is that 249 projects are being constructed worth 42,649 MW while 2,324 projects worth 294,096 MW are in the planning stage, Prof. Wandiga said.
Currently the continent has five biggest solar power plant projects namely,Noor Solar complex in Morocco,Benban Solar Park in Egypt, De Aar Solar Power, Ilanga Concentrated Solar Power and Kathu Solar Park allocated in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa.
The Garissa Solar Plant in Kenya is the largest grid connected solar power plant in Eastern and Central Africa,generating about 50MW.The project is contributing about 2% of the national energy mix and has led to a significant reduction of energy costs in the country.
Prof Wandiga said Africa urgently needs to embrace sustainable climate change adaptation strategies given its vulnerability despite its negligible contribution to carbon emissions,adding that adaptation spending is the continent’s climate investment priority as per the African Union.
He disclosed that the most relevant studies suggest adaptation costs in the African region range between US$ 20-30 billion per annum over the next 10 to 20 years.
“There is a pressing need to mobilize resources to address the continent’s current limitations to deal with climate events, as well as resources to deal with future climate change,” he said.