Low-carbon hope for Africa

Low-carbon technologies offer the fastest route to development for the 70% of sub-Saharan Africans who have no access to electricity, according to a major report.

The analysis, published by the Green Alliance, a UK think-tank, is supported by Christian Aid, Greenpeace, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and WWF.

It says low-carbon, decentralised energy can reach communities much faster than expanding existing, inefficient central grid systems - at less than half the operating costs of traditional diesel generators.

The study also shows how renewables can offer additional benefits, such as cutting air pollution and improved job creation. It forecasts that solar projects will bring 4,000 jobs to Ghana. Ethiopia’s wind capacity is projected to grow by 8% between 2012 and 2030, and Kenya’s geothermal capacity is expected to double.

“The green economy presents huge opportunities for dynamic and innovative British businesses to export overseas and increase energy access in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa through renewable technology...” says Chuka Umunna, Britian's opposition spokesman on business.

“Britain must be a world leader in the low-carbon economy. This is key to growing the highly skilled, better-paid jobs we need, as well as powering development across the globe that benefits all.”