Why aren’t our leaders taking the APP's advice?

This month, discussions on our resources lied the mouths of various African leaders and industry captains – Mostly looking at the future of our resources in our land.

This year alone, the Africa Progress Panel (APP_ published the African Progress Report, detailing the need to move to renewable energy showing how much of it is a win-win for all stakeholders in this continent (or at least stakeholders that care for Africa). In Botswana, captains of industry convened in the name of the country’s resources, conferences in the name Powering Africa had Mozambique discussing possibilities of oil and gas.

For myself, the African Progress report had resources on my tongue too. The document inspired my to write a short synopsis on why going solar, hydro or just shifting to low-carbon energy makes so much sense, it ripples into other fields of the economy where small businesses thrive (case and point the M-Kopa in Kenya). Showing that renewable energy can not only provide energy solution to countries that have a power crisis, but empower the jobless and innovative through economical upliftment.

Last week, through the Afrolutionist, I attended The Botswana Resource Sector Conference. In a nutshell, it was a ‘hmming’ experience. Although I do appreciate the sentiment of the conference, that it keeps Mining companies responsible to the growth of the economy in the mining sector, and is a platform for the public to know what our engagements are in the country, I picked up that throughout the discussions, no time, person or discussion was preserved for the possibilities in renewable energy.

I found it interesting that a country such as Botswana (which is facing an epic power crisis, and still entrusts South Africa as the backbone of its power supply) has yet to table this topic on to a large platform such as this. In the larger front, why aren’t our leaders convening to discuss this as a way to position ourselves as the pioneers in renewable energy development?

The discussion on possibilities and adapting our societies to move towards renewable energy isn’t based on us to shift all our energies to solar or hydro energy, but to utilize renewable energies as viable options into our current systems.

Already countries such as Ethiopia, Ghana and Kenya are shifting towards low-carbon climate resilient structures (where renewable energy is inclusive) other nations lag in such development, sticking to dialogue on tangible resources that need to be dug up, instead of looking towards other means as a solution to development.

Perhaps it’s the need to see its financial viability (which the Africa Progress Report proves), or perhaps certain current beneficiaries will be losing out on this deal (such as countries who are perhaps sitting on far too much coal). However if we continue to rely heavily on the current structures of non renewable resources feeding our societies, there will be no beneficiaries in the future – our continent will still be playing ‘catch-up’ with the rest of the world.

But if we move towards a greener society through incorporating renewable energy within our structures (even on small-scale business level) we will catch the eye of investors or other African leaders who believe in the advice compiled by the African Progress Panel, and sustainably grow our continent in accordance to the true fundamental Pan-African beliefs.