Nigeria, a vibrant and populous nation in West Africa, grapples with the critical issue of access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking. As an integral component of daily life, cooking methods profoundly impact the health, environment, and overall well-being of the Nigerian population. The dynamics of clean cooking solutions in Nigeria are closely intertwined with the threads of economic growth, underscoring the necessity for innovative approaches that not only tackle environmental challenges but also foster the nation’s economic robustness and promote inclusive development.
Based on the previously displayed map, it’s evident that the majority of African countries face limited or no access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking. To investigate this trend further, Nigeria has been selected as a focal point to assess whether there have been improvements in this indicator over the years.
It is noteworthy that access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking in Nigeria has shown a positive trajectory, with discernible advancements noted since 2001. This gradual increase can be attributed to a combination of government initiatives, infrastructure development, international support, economic growth, awareness campaigns, technological advancements, and community engagement. Policies and subsidies, investments in energy infrastructure, collaborations with international organizations, and economic development have collectively contributed to making clean cooking fuels more affordable and accessible. Moreover, efforts to raise awareness about the health and environmental benefits of clean cooking, along with advancements in technology, have played crucial roles in promoting the adoption of clean cooking practices across the country.
The rise in Nigeria’s GDP alongside increased access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking is a symbiotic relationship with multiple interconnections. Economic growth, as reflected in the increasing GDP, contributes to improved affordability of clean cooking technologies, fostering a positive impact on household incomes. This economic development empowers the government to allocate resources to initiatives and subsidies that enhance accessibility to cleaner fuels. Moreover, higher GDP facilitates investments in energy infrastructure and research, fostering technological advancements that make clean cooking options more efficient. The overall improvement in public health, heightened environmental awareness, and strengthened international collaborations are additional outcomes of this dual progress. However, recognizing and addressing potential disparities in the inclusive distribution of these benefits remains crucial for a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic relationship between Nigeria’s economic growth and the adoption of clean cooking practices.
The efforts to increase access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking, along with economic growth, align with several United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
SDG 1 – No Poverty: Economic growth, when inclusive, can contribute to poverty reduction, and improved access to clean cooking technologies supports this goal by enhancing the living standards of vulnerable populations.
SDG 3 – Good Health and Well-being: Access to clean fuels and technologies for cooking directly impacts health outcomes by reducing indoor air pollution and related health issues.
SDG 7 – Affordable and Clean Energy: The goal of ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all directly relates to efforts to improve access to clean cooking technologies.
SDG 10 – Reduced Inequality: Efforts to ensure inclusive economic growth and equitable access to clean cooking technologies contribute to reducing inequalities within society.
SDG 11 – Sustainable Cities and Communities: Urban planning and infrastructure development related to clean cooking technologies contribute to building sustainable cities and communities.
SDG 13 – Climate Action: The adoption of clean cooking technologies aligns with climate action goals by reducing reliance on traditional biomass fuels, contributing to mitigating climate change.
Education is the cornerstone of development, unlocking doors to a brighter future. Education plays an essential role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The persistent challenge of education in African countries, particularly for adolescents, has always been an obstacle, contributing to the developmental lag experienced of these nations.
Adolescents out of school in 2012:
In 2012, a large percentage of adolescents were out of schools. Reasons vary but they can be summarized in
Inadequate educational infrastructure
Social disparities especially marriage
Barriers to access in rural areas
Shortage of qualified teachers
Limited access to modern teaching materials
Adolescents-out-of-school rate in African Countries:
The map assures visually and represents educational challenge with larger red circles denote higher percentages where the adolescents-out-of-school rate is really high in comparison to other countries.
The high marriage rates in often limit access to formal learning opportunities. The social expectations surrounding marriage can act as a barrier, particularly for young girls, impeding their ability to complete their education. However, fast forward to 2022, a shift in the educational landscape had occurred. In 2016, marriage rates for girls under 15 stood at a shocking 93%. However, a line chart traced a journey of change from 2016 to 2017, witnessing a substantial drop to 62%. The trend continued into the years 2020 and 2021, where the marriage rate further decreased to a promising 29%.
Now, this shows the rate of out-of-school adolescents that had fallen. Hope began to blossom becoming an inspiration of progress in the (SDGs).
Correlation between Marriage and School enrollment:
The story unfolded with a realization – the decline in early marriages played a key role in fostering educational empowerment with a correlation between decrease in marriage rates and increase in school enrollment. Yet, a small number is still beyond the ideas of education.
Urgent Call for action:
Community Engagement and Awareness
Investment in Infrastructure
Government Policy Reforms
Teacher Training and Support
Partnerships with NGOs and Corporations
Monitoring and Evaluation
The tale of progress in African education reminds the world that transformation is possible when communities unite, prioritize education, and nurture the dreams of their youth…
African countries face a critical water situation, with millions lacking access to clean and safe water sources
According to the United Nations, about 40% of the world’s population lack access to the least basic water needs and with the global temperatures on the rise this number is expected to further increase. In line with its vision for the year 2030, the United Nations is developing a series of targets such as eliminating water sources pollution and increasing international cooperation, however until today not much has done to ensure that this goal will be met by year 2030.
African countries have the highest mortality rates related to unsafe water sanitation
As shown in the above heatmap, the highest mortality rates related to unsafe water in year 2019 belonged to countries from the African continent solely with Lesotho and Chad leading the way with 108.1 and 99.2 deaths coming from unsafe water sources respectively. In addition, as displayed in the above map, the African continent is clearly in a critical situation with less than half of the population receiving access to basic water services in most of its countries.
Increasing international cooperation can improve the African water situation
To address the critical water situation, a multifaceted solution involves improving water infrastructure, implementing sustainable water management practices, raise awareness and avoid water pollution. However, as known for its weak economic situation, most of the African countries are not currently capable to develop such infrastructural expansions, highlighting the need of an international cooperation to solve the critical water situation in Africa.
Integrated programs can scale and validate the proposed solutions to solve the current situation
Series of programs led and initiated by international partners can be used to assess the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed solutions, including the sustainable water usage and pollution control to restore the ecosystems in Africa and ensure that the whole population is receiving access to the least basic water services. In addition, the programs will ensure the global collaboration discussed above.
All stakeholders should proceed immediately
As mentioned above, the United nation clearly stated that much has to be done to be in line with the SDG goals of year 2030. In this regard, we recommended to focus on clear policies that call for an immediate action plan to ensure those goals. But most importantly, we recommend all stakeholders to proceed immediately as the African continent is in a desperate water situation while mortality rates are going through the roof.
For more info, read the following articles: https://www.unep.org/explore-topics/sustainable-development-goals/why-do-sustainable-development-goals-matter/goal-6
Africa is a land of vibrant cultures, mesmerizing landscapes, and remarkable wildlife. A land with endless variety that also faces countless difficulties.
If I were to inquire about the primary cause of mortality among young people in Africa, one might naturally assume it to be linked to issues such as armed conflicts or prevalent diseases. However, surprisingly, the statistics present a different reality that demands immediate attention. Contrary to assumptions, the urgent concern lies elsewhere: traffic-related incidents.
Given the perception that Africa has relatively lower traffic volume and fewer vehicles in comparison to other regions, it might be presumed that traffic accidents are not a significant cause for alarm.
However, According to the World Health Organization1, road accidents are the leading cause of death for people aged 5-29 worldwide. Low & middle-income countries, account for more than 90% of these deaths. Africa alone is accounting for a staggering 20% of the global total even though it has only 3% of the world’s vehicles 2.
>> The Looming Crisis
As we can see in the graph below based on the World Development Indicators 3, Africa has the highest mortality by traffic in the world, Especially SUB-Saharan Africa with around 27 deaths per 100,000 population, compared to the global average of 16.5 deaths per 100,000 population.
This is a serious problem that requires immediate attention. So, what is causing these alarming statistics, and how can we stop it?
Traffic fatalities have become a major public health crisis in Africa, affecting the entire continent. The loss of life is significant, and it has profound social and economic effects. Lives are lost, families are devastated, and communities lose valuable members. However, there are solutions to this crisis. We need to understand and address the root causes.
>> The Power of Education
One of the factors that may explain this problem is the low level of education in the region, which affects the skills and knowledge of drivers, pedestrians, and road users. Education is widely recognized as a key determinant of human development and well-being, as well as a driver of economic growth and social cohesion. However, many African countries still face significant challenges in providing quality and inclusive education for all their citizens.
Below graph shows the % of Population with Educational attainment, at least Bachelor’s degree for people aged +25 years old.
Of all regions, Africa has the highest rates of education exclusion with an average of 3% only. This issue affects drivers and pedestrians alike, shaping their behaviours and safety measures on the road.
Education, or lack thereof, directly influences an individual’s driving behaviour, risk perception, and compliance with traffic rules and regulations. A lack of education diminishes the cognitive skills necessary for safe driving – such as decision making, hazard perception, and situational awareness – and reduces the likelihood of adhering to traffic laws.
As a result, the region experiences a lower life expectancy compared to other parts of the world.
The below graph illustrates this result, where African life expectancy is only ~ 54 years .
>> A Source of Hope
Investing in education can be the remedy for Africa’s traffic fatality crisis. Education is a powerful tool for increasing awareness of road safety and developing human potential. It provides individuals with knowledge, improves cognitive skills, and promotes a culture of safety.
Education has the potential to bring about broader change. It can improve access to quality education for everyone, especially vulnerable groups like women and children.
African countries should increase public spending on education to improve the quality and access of education for all.
This must ensure as well that the resources are used efficiently and effectively to improve the quality and access of education for all.
We can see in the below chart about Government expenditure on education (% of Gov. exp.) that many African countries are increasing their spending on education recently, which will help reduce the mortality by traffic.
>> The Road Ahead
Through education, we can equip individuals with the necessary skills and awareness to navigate roads safely. Initiatives such as specialized safety classes, more driving schools, and regular car inspections can all contribute to this cause.
There is ample evidence supporting the effectiveness of this approach. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, for example, has seen a consistent decrease in traffic fatalities due to higher levels of education and awareness.
Traffic Mortality decreased from a peak of 21.9 to 16.3 per 100,000 population and it is showing high Life Expectancy of 68.3 years on average which is close to Latin America and East Asia Pacific.
This can be considered as a great model for Sub-Saharan Africa to follow.
>> Taking Action
We conclude our journey by emphasizing the transformative power of education. It is evident that education plays a pivotal role in mitigating the alarming rates of traffic fatalities in Africa.
This is more than just a blog post; it is a strong call for change. Education saves lives, including on the roads of Africa.
Based on our research, we recommend several actionable measures to address this issue effectively. These include:
The establishment of specialized safety awareness classes
An increase in the number of driving schools
Spreading awareness for correct helmet use, seat-belts, and promoting child restraint measures.
implementing rigorous car check-ups and safety assessment programs.
implementation of reduced speed limits of 30 kilometers per hour for crowded areas.
By actively pursuing these recommendations and securing necessary funding, we can collectively address the traffic fatality crisis in Africa and demonstrate our commitment to preserving every life.
: WHO – Road traffic injuries
: WHO – Global status report on road safety 2018
Despite rising commodity prices and concerns from international leaders about energy scarcities and gas costs at the pump, millions of people in Africa still do not have access to electricity.
Only three nations in West and Central Africa are on track to provide power to every citizen by 2030, according to the SDG7 agenda. In the region, 263 million people will go without electricity in ten years if things continue at this poor rate. One of the lowest rates of electricity access in the world is in West Africa, where only 8% of rural inhabitants and 42% of the general population have access to it.
These numbers—some much too large, some much too small—have serious repercussions. Enhancing people’s chances and options starts with electricity. Access is essential for increasing economic activity and helps to improve human capital, which is an investment in a nation’s future potential.
Children cannot complete their education at night without electricity. Businesspeople are unable to trade with one another or obtain market information. Even worse, as the COVID-19 epidemic has so clearly demonstrated, a lack of energy restricts hospital and emergency services, putting patients at even greater risk and tainting priceless medications.
How will West and Central Africa be powered?
Accelerating the transition to universal energy access is crucial right now in order to fuel the continent’s economic change and encourage socioeconomic inclusion. Without consistent access to electricity, a nation’s social fabric may suffer, with those without it growing weary of inequality. Here are some audacious strategies that are needed to address the energy access challenge in the African continent.
One of the things can be done is to make utilities profitable. Many electricity suppliers in the area are cash-strapped and run infrastructure and a generation fleet that is outdated and in poor condition. As a result, they are unable to provide their consumers with electricity that is both dependable and economical, much alone provide electricity to those who currently have to rely on subpar alternatives to electricity. In Sub-Saharan Africa, less than half of the utilities make back their operating costs, which causes GDP losses of up to 4% in some nations.
Lowering the cost of supply is a requirement for increasing electricity access to those who are currently without it, typically lower-income and frequently remote households. This is accomplished by improving the performance of national utilities and greening their power generation mix.
West and Central African nations must go outside their boundaries in order to further link their national utilities and grids to other systems in the area. This is a crucial second point. Without effective regional trade, many nations would be largely dependent on a small number of energy supplies and polluting generation sources, necessitating the importation of fuel at volatile international oil prices.
Last but not least, political leaders will need to dedicate a lot of time and effort to obtaining universal access to power, especially when it comes to creating laws and rules that can draw reputable investments.