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The Future of Renewable Energy in West Africa

by Ogechukwu Ojimaduekwu Ajoku

 

Communities in West Africa suffer difficulties accessing un-interrupted power supply. This has made life very unbearable. As a solution to this there is now the urge to resort to alternative power supply by wind turbine, gas turbine, solar energy or bio fuel, which is yet to be fully developed in West Africa. These are energy sources that are sustainable and clean, except gas turbine. They are otherwise popularly known as renewable energy. They are environmental, as well as community friendly. They are also affordable. What it now required is enabling government policy and institutional support for the development and utility of this energy source. This will also reduce the over dependence on fossil fuel from crude oil.

This sector is hitherto dominated by small scale entrepreneurs and local farmers. However, despite the huge potentials and strong commitments by the governments and multinationals, there is little achieved in the development of renewable energy technology as source of energy supply to replace the traditional source from fossils fuels production. This is attributed to numerous challenges which include reliance on foreign investments to develop the sector, poor implementation of stimulus packages due to policy inconsistencies, conflicting laws and regulations which diminish the trust of investors on the initiative to resort to renewable energy technology. Other concerns of investors are poor public enlightenment, insufficient incentives policies to promote investments in the sector, and much more.

The problems facing the future of renewable energy in West Africa are not intractable. It is very imperative for governments to formulate ways to address these problems. There is need to boost agricultural production that leads to providing means of livelihood for teeming rural dwellers and urban poor. Therefore, governments in West Africa need to seek viable sources of funding to invest in renewable energy technological to enhance uninterrupted power supply and thereby mitigate the challenge of dependence on foreign investors and short-term commitment. Sincere efforts should be made towards ensuring that conflicting laws are not formulated and also guarantee that production costs are reduced. There is also the need to mitigate the risk of low yields, pests and diseases of the agricultural crops. Finally, government should devise mechanism to understanding severity of challenges local farmers contend. This is because the future of renewable energy in West Africa depends on the agricultural policy of states and modernisation of home-grown technology employed by local entrepreneurs, and poor farmers. Government should also ensure access to finance by serious local investors.

Renewable energy is an emerging trend in global energy policy. In a bid to tackle environmental challenge caused by climate change, protect economics against rising crude oil price in the international oil market, and also reduce over dependence on crude oil economy, renewable energy source from bio fuel, etc. is now regarded as viable source of energy1.

 

1Growing pains: the possibilities and problems of Bio fuels, Christian aid 2009 report, www.christian-aid.org.uk \ images\ bio fuels- report, accessed 1\7\2014

 

Ogechukwu Ojimaduekwu Ajoku

Law Practitioner and Consultant

Principal(Heir): Ojimaduekwu Solicitors & Attorneys

Read more about Ogechukwu and his view on being a futurist.

 

 

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