07 July 2014, Port Harcourt — The former President of Ghana, John Kufuor, has revealed that more than 1.3 billion people across the globe do not have access to electricity, despite the fact that the United Nations (UN) set 2015 date for the actualisation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Kuffuor stated that in sub-Saharan Africa, only four, out of the about 30 countries in the region, were on course in the provision of electricity and other aspects of the millennium development goals, which would increase up to at least 25 per cent by 2015.
The former Ghanaian President spoke on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital while presenting a keynote address to the 2014 Energy, Environment, and Investment Forum (EEIF).
The theme of forum was, “Sustainable Energy, The Key to Africa’s World Integration.”
Key participants in the forum included the former French Prime Minister, Francois Charles Fillon; former Prime Minister of Spain, Jose Luis Zapatero; former President of Poland, Lech Walesa, and former President of the ECOWAS Commission, Mohamed Ibn Chambas.
Others were former Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, Ian Bowles; Consul-General of Peoples’ Republic of China, Liu Khan; member, British House of Commons, Eric Joyce, and President, Energy Globe Foundation, Professor Edward Ayensu.
“According to the World Energy Outlook 2011, a report of the International Energy Agency, there are 1.3 billion people around the world in developing countries without access to electricity.
“More than 2.7 billion are forced to cope, using obsolete technologies. This is a large portion of the world’s population confronted with absolute energy policy. These people are trapped in the vicious circle of poverty.
“The situation in Africa, regarding access to energy and the achievements of the millennium development goals is of particular concern.
“Among 30 sub-Saharan African countries, only four are on course, considering the number of people who will access energy by at least 25 per cent by 2015.
“By 2008, in sub-Saharan Africa, the average electrification process was at 28 per cent and in the rural areas; the average was less than 12 per cent. This figure is even less when South Africa, one of the great nations, is excluded,” Kuffuor stated.
In his welcome address, Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, described energy as the bond that connects economic, social, and environmental development, saying that no country can successfully reduce poverty without adequately addressing its energy needs.
“Energy is the bond that connects economic, social, and environmental development. It is a launching pad for economic growth and plays a pivotal role in any attempt to achieve sustainable development. No country can successfully reduce poverty without adequately addressing its energy needs,” Amaechi stated.
The governor also said his administration embarked on several projects to increase the availability of power in the state, including the construction of new power projects and rehabilitated old ones.
He pointed out that the focus of his administration was to achieve uninterrupted power supply across the state in 2015.
*Dan Abia – Daily Independent