Addis Ababa, Ethiopia | The African Union (AU) Commission on Thursday revealed that over 600 million people across the Africa lack access to electricity despite the continent’s abundant renewable energy potential.
“Currently, more than 600 million Africans lack access to electricity with many still relying on traditional biomass for cooking,” the AU Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, Amani Abou-Zeid, told the a virtual Rift Geothermal Conference (ARGeo-C8), which brings together experts from the geothermal development community, former heads of state and members of geothermal development associations from around Africa, Europe and Asia, aiming to spur the development of nearly 20,000 MW of geothermal power from Africa.
“This is having huge impacts on our efforts towards poverty reduction and human development in the continent,” told the virtual meeting organized by the 55-member pan African bloc.
The AU commissioner highlighted that Africa has a huge potential in renewable energy, especially in geothermal which is a viable energy resource estimated at over 15,000 megawatts in East Rift System Countries, that the continent can leverage on to improve the energy-mix generation in East Africa.
Abou-Zeid also stressed that the development of geothermal energy “is one of the main focus areas for the AU Commission,” which she said is the main reason behind the establishment of the Geothermal Risk Mitigation Facility (GRMF) back in 2012 by the continental bloc in collaboration with its partners.
She emphasized that the GRMF “has become since its launch in 2012 a reference in terms of risk mitigation and financial tool for supporting the geothermal energy development in Eastern Africa.”
The AU infrastructure and energy commissioner also stressed that the positive impacts that GRMF has made in terms of geothermal market development in East Africa.
She pointed out that the initiative had successfully launched 5 Application Rounds during which projects developers have been awarded grants totaling over 117 million U.S. dollars to 30 projects with a potential to generate 2,800 Megawatts of electricity.
According to the AU, the main objective of the ARGeo conference envisaged promoting and support the geothermal development in the East Africa region.
The high-level international conference, among others, brought together policymakers, technical experts as well as developers and financiers of international and regional delegates.
The conference also provided a platform to explore solutions on how to mitigate the risks associated with resource exploration, reduce lead times in developing geothermal projects, leverage investment to stimulate the growth of industry, and effectively develop, construct, and operate successful geothermal power plants.
During her remarks, thr AU infrastructure and energy commissioner called upon key stakeholders including implementing and grants beneficiary countries, technical partners and international financial institutions to joint efforts to meet both technical challenges and financial gaps to unlock the huge potential and untapped geothermal resources in East Africa.
The ARGeo conference is expected to come up with recommendations on various issues affecting the geothermal energy development in East Africa such as business models, regulatory frameworks to boost investments in sustainable energy, it was noted.
The Regional Geothermal Coordination Unit at the AU Commission in collaboration with UNEP-ARGeo will be responsible for following up on the recommendations and reaching out to various partners for its successful implementation, it was indicated.
Leaders adamant on ending charcoal trade
The authorities of Paibona Sub-county in Gulu District have blamed political leaders for promoting massive tree cutting for commercial charcoal production.
Mr Joseph Otim, the National Forestry Authority (NFA) sector manager, in an interview on Friday, said local leaders at sub-county and district levels connive with charcoal dealers in the guise of raising revenue.
“One of the biggest challenges in forest governance in this country is that the people who should be taking action are relaxed. The ones in office, the foresters, and the leaders at all levels view charcoal trade as a lucrative business. So everyone looks at what goes into their pockets, at the expense of conservations,” Mr Otim said.
He said some of the forest officials have been targeted and threatened by such leaders, especially whenever they impound forest products.
“Another challenge is the people who are highly placed and connected in the security organs who issue threats,” Mr Otim added.
During a field assessment by the district authorities to map deforestation in the area last week, heaps of cut trees being burnt for charcoal were found but no dealers found on site.
But in Akor and Ayweri villages that have chunks of deforested land, there are 193 registered commercial charcoal dealers. Some of these dealers were found on site and have been asked to abandon the trade. For fear of prosecution, some of the dealers withheld their identities. They, however, told Daily Monitor that they cannot abandon charcoal business because it is their only source of livelihood.
Mr Jackson Ayoli, the chairperson of Paibona Sub-county, however, said leaders cannot fight commercial charcoal burning because it is a major source of revenue.
He noted that the sub-county collected Shs3 million in the Financial year 2021/2021 from taxing charcoal and other forest products. From the September to November 2022 quarter, Mr Ayoli said the sub-county collected Shs3.1 million from forest-related products.
“Forest products are one of the major sources of local revenue in this sub county and without it, paying the allowances of the sub-county councillors and other staff would be a huge challenge,” Mr Ayoli said.
The Sub-county Chief, Mr David Kercan, said Paibona projected to collect Shs 16 million in local revenue in the last Financial Year (2021/2022). Local revenue sources include local service tax, trading licenses, and operations from Non-Governmental Organisations. “However, we realised only 67 percent of local revenue projections, translating to Shs 10,720,000 out of Shs16 million,” he said.
Ms Betty Aol Ocan, the Gulu City Woman Member of Parliament, said local governments should be innovative and find other sources of revenues.
The Global Forest Watch says Gulu District lost 988 hectares to illegal logging and charcoal burning in 2021—an equivalent to 440,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
It is also estimated that between 2001 and 2021, Gulu lost 38,700 hectares of tree cover.
Source: Daily Monitor
EACOP Partners With Surveyors Body as Pipeline Land Acquisition Nears Completion.
The East African Crude Oil pipeline Company (EACOP) Ltd on Wednesday entered a partnership with the Institute of Surveyors of Uganda (ISU) which will see them work together to among others bolster local capacities ahead of the construction of the regional oil pipeline.
Through this arrangement, USU undertook to conduct training of EACOP staff and offering internship programs for university students from universities of Makerere, Ndejje and Kyambogo.
The initiative will provide a three-months training and internship placement for selected participating university students twice a year during the breaks between semesters.
The Institute of surveyors of Uganda (ISU) has over 2200 members that brings together land surveying, quantity, surveying, valuation surveying, mining, and hydrological surveying professionals whose mandate is to promote professional surveying practices that can enhance the quality of services under the various surveying disciplines in Uganda.
Speaking during the MOU signing ceremony held in Kampala today, EACOP Managing Director Martin Tiffen said while they are currently employing several surveyors registered with ISU, they needed a platform for a stronger collaboration.
The partnership is hoped local content and capacity building in the oil sector in Uganda
“We have been consumers of services of different kinds of surveyors…but this agreement is a way for some of our staff to improve on their professional qualifications” he said“It also gives us a mechanism to receive students who need (internship) positioning into our organization.”
On his part, Dr. Nathan Kabwami, the President Institute of Surveyors echoed the significance of commitment of EACOP to the partnership with the Institute of Surveyors of Uganda to facilitate the delivery of quality training to future surveyors that will work on this incredible project.
“I thank EACOP for this commendable skilling initiative and urge all University students who meet the criteria for this program and are interested in being part of the transformation of Uganda’s oil and gas industry to embrace it.” He said.
Meanwhile, Mr Tiffen revealed that EACOP is progressing well with the process of acquiring land for the pipeline.
Since February last year when the oil Final Investment Decision was signed, Tiffen says over three quarters of project affected persons (PAPs) have been paid off.
There is a total of 3648 PAPs spread across 170 villages where the oil pipeline will pass through inside Uganda.
The EACOP MD also revealed that so far, construction of new houses for people for displaced families is nearly complete and that all 180 houses will be handed over to the owners early this year.
Ugandan communities battle to benefit from mining on their land
Defending Land And Environmental Rights1 week ago
Mubende police arrest and charge farmers that workers of a tree-planting company attacked.
Petitions6 days ago
Statement on the Dakar 2 Summit: “Climate smart agriculture” will worsen the climate crisis
Accountable Development To Communities1 day ago
The committee calls for the protection of projects’ host communities.
Defending Land And Environmental Rights1 day ago
State fails to produce a key witness, prematurely closes its prosecution in the trial of the eight land rights defenders
NGO work1 week ago
URGENT ALERT: Tanzanian Government Resorts to Cattle Seizures to Further Restrict Livelihoods of Maasai Pastoralists