According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the African Union (AU), renewable energy allows states to provide a fast response to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, as well as building more resilient energy systems.
The two organizations have agreed to work together to deploy renewable energy solutions across the continent in order to boost its response the coronavirus pandemic. The common goal is to accelerate the development of renewable energy across Africa, including decentralized systems, and improve the rate of access to energy.
Healthcare systems have been signaled as a critical area of improvement in order to make sure rural health centers and communities are able to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic. Thanks to small renewable energy systems, hygiene can be improved through water pumping devices and critical health devices can be powered in a stable manner.
The agreement was attained during a virtual discussion between H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy of the AU Commission and Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, last Thursday.
H.E. Dr. Amani Abou-Zeid stated: “The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that energy is critical for all spheres of life and is now proving to be a matter of survival. The African Union Commission has made major strides to advance energy development in Africa through various programs and partnerships. It is now even more urgent to fast track energy access efforts on the continent.”
Director-General La Camera said: “Renewable energy can cost-effectively supply the critical power needed in Africa’s rural communities to supply health centers, facilitate the provision of clean water, support agriculture and facilitate other productive sectors. Such measures are critical to the continent’s ability to deal with the pandemic.”
The AU and IRENA already collaborate on many of the AU’s current programs such as the Africa Bioenergy Policy Framework; the Program for Infrastructure Development in Africa and others. One key current area of collaboration resides in IRENA’s Clean Energy Corridors initiatives in East, West and Southern Africa which aims to increase renewable energy’s footprint through the development of bigger and stronger power markets, enhancing crosser-border trade of renewable power.