Renewable Energy in Africa’s Agribusiness

In recent times, there has been a wave of interest in global renewable energy. This interest has been accentuated by a 19.2% global energy consumption of renewables and 23.7% generation of electricity in 2014 and 2015 (REN 21’s 2016 report). Renewable energy refers to the energy that is generated from natural sources such as; sunlight, wind, rainfall, waves, tides, etc.

Highly industrial nations like the USA and China have invested heavily in renewable energy over the last couple of years, as approximately 8 million jobs are associated with the renewable energy industry across the globe. Nations such as Sweden, Germany, Costa Rica, Uruguay etc. are spearheading a campaign for the total use of main-stream renewable energy technologies, such as; Solar power, hydro-power, wind power, bio energy, etc.

It is no secret that Africa has suffered from certain inadequacies associated with power generation; from high tariffs to lack of sufficient supply of power for businesses and the economy to thrive. According to former UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, renewable energy has the capacity to uplift the poorest nations to new levels of prosperity.

A study in 2010 revealed that the average effective electricity tariff in the continent was 0.14 US dollars per KWH; with Djibouti and Gabon among the highest in the globe. The power generation industry has been infiltrated by costly, small-scale power systems, as well as the fossil-fuel generation, which poses a high rate of health and environmental hazards.

Agriculture is Africa’s highest employer of labor, and given the vast cultivable lands, the sector is expected to generate massive income and ameliorate the existing hunger in the continent. However, it looks better on paper, while in reality, the true potential of agriculture cannot be reached with inadequate generation of power.

Renewable and affordable energy is crucial in promoting Africa’s agribusiness potential, as irrigation and agro-processing require a steady, available supply of power. Also, renewable energy applied in the continent, will reduce post-harvest loss and ensure a more effective supply and production of food.
The agents of renewable energy are overly available in Africa, and though countries in the continent apply renewable energy, it is usually on a small-scale level. It is important for the governments and private sectors across Africa to come together, and ensure that renewable energy is maximized as a safer, cost-reducing and efficient way for developing agribusiness.

Invest in renewable energy today and give agribusiness in Africa a facelift.