Africa is rising fast and the growth fosters the need for sustainable energy for over 600 million unconnected homes to electricity. Apart from the energy-free dwellings, there is a need for relevant energy solutions to maintain a clean environment. Over the years, TED talk events have introduced great minds focused on African economies. We chose 6 talks to blow your mind. The speakers have shared inspiring ideas on renewables in Africa. Their talks focus on how technology can boost the growth of low carbon fuels that are cheap, reliable, efficient, and can help reduce poverty.
How I built a Windmill – William Kamkwamba
At 14 years, William Kamkwamba built his family a windmill in a remote village in Malawi. Using concepts from a library book, he came up with an energy-producing equipment made from the bicycle frame, pulley, and plastic pipes.
Through his invention, Williams’ family was able to enjoy lights from 4 bulbs and also listen to 2 radios. With more help, he is committed to developing an extra 8 watts of electricity-up from the initial 12 watts. In his TED talk, He shares the dream of most African homes that want more electricity supply to boost their food cultivation systems through irrigation.
The thrilling Potential for off-grid Solar Energy – Amar Inamdar
If you have never thought of the democracy in renewable energy, then listening to Amars’ talk will boost your knowledge on how to tackle the $1 billion energy problem in Africa. In his speech, Amar explains how different companies have chipped in to offer off-grid solar energy equipment in Africa.
According to him, the companies operate as retailers who take products to the people, and appliance companies that develop cheap and efficient products for their clients. They are also environmentalists that help maintain a low-carbon economy.
In his words, Amar shares the hope of when “Every household is a proud producer and consumer of energy.” His dream is to see more African homes using solar energy for bulb lighting, radios, and irrigation systems.
How Africa can keep Rising – Ngozi Okonjo- Iweala
Ngozi Okonjo says, “And this mobile money is also providing a platform for access to alternative energy. You know, people who can now pay for solar the same way they pay for cards for their telephone. So this was a very good development, something that went right.”
Energy companies are now working as credit finance companies allowing Africans to buy solar grids and pay in installments. Through this talk, the speaker shows confidence in the growth of the use of low carbon fuels in Africa through mobile money technology. Her argument, however, places the need for African economies to manage their success better by evaluating the performance of each program.
How Africa can use its Traditional Knowledge to make Progress – Chika Ezeanya – Esiobu
The adoption of full use of renewable energy is possible. But the dream can only be realized if the African education system is aligned to our traditional knowledge. In her speech, Chika explains the challenge in the application of the westerners’ education system to African concepts.
The challenge, therefore, calls for advocating of traditional knowledge that will help boost the education system, research policies, and energy sectors in African economies. According to Chika, the African knowledge is rich with information that can help drive an economy.
Energy Poverty – Olasimbo Sojinrin
There is a thin line between energy and poverty in Africa. In her talk, Olasimbo, a women rights activist, shows how women suffer the most in villages that do not have electricity.
In her push for a poverty-free Africa, she focuses her talk on how women with access to solar equipment can produce more food in their farms. She also shares how these developments can help eradicate poverty through sale or distribution of already existing energy.
Biogas digesters in Africa – Jason Clay
Maybe the future in renewables is in biogas digesters where farmers can distribute energy in their households from farm waste. Biogas digesters help reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and according to Jason, the growth in biogas use in Africa, will increase life expectancy, ensure food security, improve literacy levels, and promote a low carbon environment.