“The future” they say ‘is female”.
50% of Africa’s 1.2billion population are women of which more than 85% are of working age, but less than half working age women are likely to be employed full time.
This places the continent at the receiving end, by the under-employment or virtual exclusion of over 300 million of her working-class population from the economy. Furthermore, 63% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s residents live in rural and peri-urban areas compared to Europe’s over 70%; thus reducing access to education and necessary tools for empowerment.
Is the future still female?
Yes, potentially! There is a silver lining lurking in the dark cloud hovering the dark continent. Thanks to renewable energy off-grid electricity, as women no longer need to be employed or live in conventional energy powered environments (urban centers) to really exert their full potentials and contribute their quotas to growing the African economy. Renewable energy sector employs more than 100% more women than conventional energy sectors. Aside the greater employment opportunity for women, renewable energy jobs are growing with an average of 1million to 3million jobs added annually while conventional jobs are depleting with deepening oil well and increased cost-cutting automation coupled with pro-green legislations. This means women living in rural Africa can actually earn comparably and in some cases higher than people employed in the formal sectors, if the governments cross their t’s and dot their I’s, in the next 4 to 8years.
87% of the world’s population without access to electricity are living in Africa. The vast majority of Africa’s poor are women. These women are the most adversely impacted by this underdevelopment. A way out of this will be to provide unemployed women the relevant training and exposure to renewable energy solutions with local potentials in rural areas and peri-urban settlements in order to create a bottom-up attack on energy and economic poverty. This approach will enlighten the most vulnerable of the society, raise awareness and improve the standards of living of millions of Africans.
With less than 60% availability of electricity for the lucky 43% of Africa’s population having access to electricity, the off-grid clean energy revolution will not just sweep through villages and hamlets but infiltrate even much of urban centers and exclusive estates, especially with increased calls for green building and smart estates getting louder. Off-grid electricity remains the way out for Africa and no better people than women are best to lead the guerilla attack. With the fact that inadequate manpower is one of the barriers to renewable energy development and adoption in Africa, it is time to train the most resident and sustainable energy receptive population, our women, on the technicalities of designing, installing and operating renewable energy solutions.
By training women in selected low capital, simple and clean renewable energy solutions like solar photovoltaic installation and maintenance, biogas production which also yields high grade bio-fertilizer for commercial organic farming, liquid biofuel production via dedicated energy crops(DEC), Solar CSP for heating, simple small windmills and advanced biomass fuel system, power problems in rural areas will be a thing of the past.
Renewable energy off-grid electricity is an all-round win-win opportunity for solving most of Africa’s problems tied to the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) such as: Access to Electricity; Women Advancement; Agricultural Development; quality job creation; access to education and healthcare; Information Technology and so on.
Power has a direct bearing to virtually every facets of human life. We are at a time where Africa can no longer continue in a backward trend. Women should be empowered to lead Africa’s off-grid power revolution.
The future is indeed female!
Photo Credits: Hivos People Unlimited