Purity Kinyili, the 50-year-old woman, spent most of her time traveling to get water and firewood to support her family and farming in Kenya’s semi-arid Makueni County, which forced the government the implementation of solar panels in rural areas.
As part of the government’s goal to establish solar energy in rural villages, Purity Kinyili acquired the straightforward-to-install panels, set them up, and built a solar-powered well. Her once-dry field has now been converted into a lush green area, and she even has extra energy to power her home. According to prominent politicians and climate experts on the continent, providing African countries with access to more and cleaner energy while preserving economic growth will be a top priority at the upcoming UN climate summit in November.
To achieve Africa’s objective for a “just transition” — ensuring that the deployment of clean energy is equitable and inclusive — the African Union is working to enhance access to power and clean cooking resources for hundreds of millions of people. 1.4 billion people live on the continent, and it is believed that 600 million do not have access to power or cleaner cooking fuels.
Some experts suggest that raising living standards will require Africa to expand its fossil fuel output temporarily. According to Harsen Nyambe, the African Union’s director of sustainable environment and blue economy, the continent needs more time and financial resources to transition to clean energy if it continues achieving its social and economic growth objectives. While he acknowledged that a just transition is “desirable,” he underlined the need to be “realistic” about expectations for African states, given that the continent is also attempting to create infrastructure while using fewer resources and is already struggling with the effects of a changing environment.
Africa is particularly vulnerable to climate change because it has a limited capacity to adapt to extreme rains in some areas and hotter, drier temperatures in others. In the Horn and east of Africa, a persistent and severe drought deprives communities of food and water, and deadly cyclones are more frequent in the southern countries.