THE Volta River Authority (VRA) has appealed to governments, business leaders and investors to invest in the energy sector to help improve and sustain the energy situation in Africa.
According to the authority, power is the ‘heartbeat’ of every nation’s development, however, access to energy remained a major challenge for the continent.
It is against this background that it argued for investments to make the sector more effective and efficient.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of VRA, Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, made the call in a speech read on his behalf at the 2022 Africa Energy Conference held in Accra on October 5.
“Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG 7) targets affordable and clean energy, therefore, speaks to this very important challenge that faces the African continent, especially sub-Saharan Africa.
“Improving access to energy in a sustainable manner will not only lead to the development of the African continent but also ensure improved quality of educational outcomes, improve health, lower mortality rate, reduced employment and a potential decrease in rural-urban migration,” he said.
The conference was held on the theme “Africa’s Energy Future – Achieving an all-round Competitiveness and Sustainability to Support the Continent’s Development Ambitions”.
It brought together energy experts, policy makers, government officials, investors, academicians and stakeholders in the energy sector to exchange ideas, share experiences and provide tailor-made solutions to the challenges in the sector.
Addressing energy needs
A Deputy Minister of Energy, Andrew Mercer, for his part, said African countries, in addressing existing energy needs and challenges, must adopt approaches that guarantee consistent efficiency, monitor projected opportunities and strategically position nations to take full advantage of these opportunities.
“African countries must do the seemingly simple things very well while exploring emerging opportunities in the sector.
“Existing systems must be enhanced to improve efficiency and curb waste,” he said.
He said like that of many African countries, Ghana’s energy sector, had over the years been driven by objectives such as providing stable, realistically priced and universally accessible power in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner; as well as ensuring availability and realistic pricing of petroleum products.
Other objectives include increasing crude oil reserves to improve revenue and ensuring local content and local participation at all levels of the energy value chain.
“Against this backdrop, enhancing electricity access; improving renewable energy penetration; energy price tariff adjustments; ensuring optimum exploitation of petroleum resources among others have consistently been the focus of government policy and intervention.
“In the area of power, Ghana has sought to enhance its generation, transmission and distribution of electricity nationwide ensuring that it never goes back to the grim days of frequent power cuts; an era which left many industries crippled,” Mr Mercer said.