The Pan African Parliament (PAP) meeting in South Africa on Wednesday agreed to institute a specialised tool for accelerating access to energy to curb blackouts which have contributed to the collapse of most African economies.
The agreement came after the president of Energies pour l’Afrique, Jean-Louis Borloo—who held various cabinet portfolios, including energy, in the French government between 2002 and 2010—addressed the house during its first ordinary session of the ongoing Fourth Parliament at its headquarters in Gallagher Convention Centre, Midlands, South Africa.
Borloo said Africa possesses incredible energy potential, especially renewable energy, and proposed that African governments should form an intergovernmental energy agency, which would be a specialised institution aimed at helping to accelerate electrification of Africa.
He said the proposal to have one African agency to accelerate the electrification of the continent would support public-private partnership operations.
Borloo said the agency would work closely with national public authorities to strengthen bilateral trust by planning investments, improve and guarantee project profitability and reduce project risks.
In her contribution, Cecilia Chazama—Malawi’s representative to the parliament—welcomed the idea on the grounds that issues of energy and electricity are so pertinent for Africa as they affect women the most.
She said African women suffer in all spheres, particularly due to water scarcity and energy challenges, hence she urged fellow parliamentarians to endorse the proposal.
“The Pan African Parliament is the voice of all Africans. Endorsing the project will benefit countries such as Malawi that are struggling due to blackouts,” said Chazama, who is also Member of Parliament for Blantyre North-East.
She said in order to reduce poverty and protect the environment, there was need for all households to get connected to an electricity grid.
Contributing on the matter, an MP from Kenya, Zakayo Cheruiyot, said his government had embarked on what is called the ‘last mile’, a project that would ensure all households around schools and market centres are connected affordably to power.