The time is for Action ! To end energy poverty in Central Africa sub-region.


With so many people living in rural communities and spending long hours every day collecting firewood
and water, it’s no surprise that Central Africa is considered to be one of the poorest regions of the world.
For example, more than 90% of the population in Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central
African Republic and Rwanda live in rural areas. In fact, around 70% of people in sub-Saharan Africa
still do not have reliable access to electricity. As a result, many people spend much of their time
collecting firewood or traveling to nearby streams to collect water for drinking and cooking. In
addition, lack of access to electricity means that these individuals are unable to take advantage
of educational opportunities or operate businesses from home.

What is causing the energy poverty in Central Africa?
The lack of electricity in Central Africa has been caused by many factors. In the past, many government officials have focused on creating other sources of energy, such as hydropower or diesel power generation.
But this has left people in rural communities with little or no access to electrical power. This situation has also been made worse by the fact that the region is prone to droughts. Therefore, hydropower plants – which generate much of the energy for sub-Saharan Africa – have often struggled because of limited rainfall.
On top of all this, the cost of installing and maintaining energy infrastructure has also made it difficult for government officials to deliver electricity to urban areas and rural communities.

Currently, there are many people living with no access to electricity.
It’s estimated that around 68 million people in sub-Saharan Africa currently have no access to electricity. This means that they have to spend considerable time and effort collecting firewood and water for daily needs. They also have limited or no access to modern healthcare, sanitation or educational opportunities. Despite this, many of these people aspire to lead modern lifestyles. In a survey of attitudes to energy access in sub-Saharan Africa, over 90% of people said that they wanted to have access to modern energy services. Indeed, electricity would offer huge benefits to people living in rural areas. For example, it would allow them to save time by having access to modern appliances, such as gas cookers and ovens that reduce the need for people to collect water and firewood. In addition, many people say that they would prefer to work from home if they had internet access, which would be extremely difficult to achieve without electricity.

What does this mean for the region?
The lack of electricity in rural areas and some urban areas has meant that many people have been unable to progress
beyond a subsistence lifestyle. It has also meant that they have been unable to contribute to the wider economy by operating businesses from home, such as tailoring, hairdressing and computer repairs. In addition, the lack of electricity in rural areas has meant that women and girls have had to spend valuable time collecting water and firewood. This has left many feeling unsafe when traveling to nearby streams or forests. And finally, the lack of electricity in rural areas has meant that people have been unable to use modern medical equipment, such as incubators and dialysis machines. This has often meant that sick and injured people have been unable to receive prompt medical attention.

The good news: the future Pipeline system will end energy poverty in the sub region.
There are a number of positive developments happening in Central Africa that may help to improve the situation. For example, CABEF, APPO and the government of Equatorial Guinea have committed to improving access to electricity through the construction of the Central Africa Pipeline System. A Memorandum between these three institutions was signed during the CABEF 2022 event in Douala, with the purpose of commissioning feasibility studies to bring this very important project to financial closure by 2023. The CAPS will be the backbone of the Central Africa Sub-region’s energy and fuel sector. It is expected to transport natural gas, refined petroleum products, and biofuels. It will serve as the primary source of the region’s energy needs, including electricity generation and transport fuel for passenger vehicles in the sub-region .The CAPS will be a game changer in the sub-region’s energy sector. It is expected to end energy poverty by:
– Providing reliable, affordable, and uninterrupted electricity to all households and businesses in the sub-region whose energy needs are currently not met.
-Providing a strong market for clean and renewable energy from hydropower, biofuels, and other renewable sources that can be integrated into the CAPS.
– Providing a range of transportation fuels for cars, trucks, and other modes of transportation to meet the needs of the growing middle class in the sub-region.

The situation in Central Africa is clearly not ideal. However, there are many people working hard to bring electricity to rural areas. This includes government officials, engineers and nonprofit organizations. These individuals are optimistic that progress is being made. Indeed, there are many positive developments on the horizon, such as more institutions and governments committing to improving access to electricity. And there are millions of people in Central Africa who aspire to lead modern lifestyles, with electricity playing a key role. Although it may be a long time coming, the benefits of these developments will be worth the wait.

Nathalie lum
Chairwoman of CABEF