The African Cup of Nations (AFCON) 2023 is more than just a football tournament. It is also a showcase of the achievements and potential of Africa in various fields, including clean energy. In this article, we will explore some of the ways that AFCON 2023 and clean energy are connected, highlighting the global partnerships and initiatives that support the green development of Africa.
What is Clean Energy?
Clean energy is energy that comes from renewable, zero emission sources that do not pollute the atmosphere when used, as well as energy saved by energy efficiency measures. Clean energy is essential for mitigating climate change, improving air quality, enhancing energy security, and creating economic opportunities.
Some of the common sources of clean energy are solar, wind, hydro, biomass, geothermal, and ocean energy. These sources are abundant, inexhaustible, and environmentally friendly. They can also provide decentralized, off-grid, and affordable energy solutions for rural and remote areas.
How is AFCON 2023 Powered by Clean Energy?
One of the highlights of AFCON 2023 is the newly built Ebimpe Stadium, located in the outskirts of Abidjan, the economic capital of Cote d’Ivoire. The stadium, which has a capacity of 60,000 spectators, is the largest and most modern in the country, and the first to be powered by solar energy. The stadium has a 1.5 MW solar power plant, which covers 30 percent of its energy needs and reduces its carbon footprint. The solar power plant was built by a Chinese company, Huawei, as part of its commitment to support the development of renewable energy in Africa.
Another example of the connection between AFCON 2023 and clean energy is the satellite TV project, which aims to provide access to digital television services to 10,000 villages in 25 African countries, including Cote d’Ivoire. The project, which is funded by the Chinese government and implemented by StarTimes, a Chinese media company, uses solar power to operate the TV sets and decoders in remote areas that lack electricity. The project not only enables millions of Africans to watch the AFCON matches, but also to enjoy other educational and entertainment programs.
What are the Benefits of Clean Energy for Africa?
The benefits of clean energy for Africa are manifold. First, clean energy can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, which poses a serious threat to the continent’s development and security. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), Africa’s energy-related CO2 emissions could increase by 75% by 2030 under current policies, unless more action is taken to promote clean energy.
Second, clean energy can improve air quality and public health, especially in urban areas where air pollution is a major cause of premature deaths and diseases. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 600,000 Africans die each year from exposure to outdoor and indoor air pollution. Clean energy can reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and traditional biomass, which are the main sources of air pollution in Africa.
Third, clean energy can enhance energy security and access, especially for the 600 million Africans who still lack access to electricity. Clean energy can provide reliable, affordable, and sustainable energy services for households, businesses, and communities, and reduce the dependence on imported fuels and power grids. Clean energy can also create jobs and income opportunities for local people, especially women and youth, who can participate in the installation, operation, and maintenance of clean energy systems.
What are the Challenges and Opportunities for Clean Energy in Africa?
Despite the benefits and potential of clean energy, Africa still faces many challenges and barriers to achieve a clean energy transition. Some of these challenges include:
- Lack of adequate financing and investment for clean energy projects and infrastructure
- Lack of supportive policies and regulations to create a conducive environment for clean energy development and deployment.
- Lack of technical and institutional capacity and skills to plan, implement, and manage clean energy projects and systems.
- Lack of awareness and information among the public and stakeholders about the benefits and opportunities of clean energy
However, these challenges also present opportunities for Africa to leverage the support and cooperation of the international community, especially in the context of the global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement on climate change. Some of these opportunities include:
- Accessing various sources of funding and financing from multilateral and bilateral donors, development banks, private sector, and civil society organizations
- Adopting and implementing best practices and standards for clean energy policies and regulations, such as feed-in tariffs, net metering, renewable energy certificates, and carbon pricing
- Building and strengthening the human and institutional capacity and skills for clean energy through education, training, and knowledge sharing
- Raising and disseminating the awareness and information about clean energy among the public and stakeholders through campaigns, media, and events
How is AFCON 2023 Promoting Clean Energy in Africa?
AFCON 2023 is not only a platform for showcasing the achievements and potential of Africa in clean energy, but also a catalyst for promoting and advancing the clean energy agenda in the continent. AFCON 2023 is doing this by:
- Demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of clean energy solutions, such as the solar-powered stadium and the satellite TV project, and inspiring other countries and regions to adopt and replicate them.
- Engaging and mobilizing the public and stakeholders, especially the youth and the football fans, to support and participate in the clean energy transition, and to adopt more sustainable lifestyles and behaviours.
- Creating and strengthening the partnerships and networks among the African countries and regions, as well as with the international community, to share the experiences, challenges, and opportunities of clean energy, and to foster more collaboration and cooperation.
AFCON 2023 and clean energy are connected in many ways, and together they represent the bright future of Africa and its people. AFCON 2023 is not only a celebration of football, but also a celebration of clean energy, which can bring many benefits and opportunities for the continent. AFCON 2023 is also an opportunity for Africa to showcase its achievements and potential in clean energy, and to promote and advance the clean energy agenda in the continent and the world.
Brian Kolek is an Economist and Business Development Manager at Renewables in Africa.