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 Many electricity suppliers in the area are cash-strapped and run infrastructure and a generation fleet that is outdated and in poor condition.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.
Fatou is a 27-year-old housewife. At 15 years old, she decided to quit her education to get married to the love of her life, a man 8 years older than her, who had promised her a wealthy life in which she wouldn’t worry about a thing.
A few years into her marriage, her husband wasn’t doing well financially, and she found herself financially abused by him. All the promises went into vain and she was there begging for a penny to get the most basic goods she needed. Looking at herself, she found herself with no knowledge or skills to help her stand on her feet. With no education to support her, she felt like all the doors were shut, and her only salvation was her husband, who in turn belittled her for always being dependent on him, noting that it had been himself who stopped her from being an achiever.
This is not only the story of Fatou, but also that of millions of women living in disparity because they couldn’t be self-sufficient and independent. This story is yet another example of what the SDGs tackle, like Reduced Inequalities, among others as Quality Education and Gender Equality.
The contribution of women in the society decreases early marriage, and early marriage is linked to low education.
The graph shows the countries with the highest number of women who were first married by age of 15.
The top 3 countries with the highest number of women who were early married are Niger with 37.37% , Bangladesh with 32% and Chad with 29.25%.
Moreover, 76% of girls in Niger are married before their 18th birthday and 28% are married before the age of 15. Niger has the highest prevalence of child marriage in the world and the 13th highest absolute number of women married or in a union before the age of 18 globally – 745,000.
As a result, Awareness campaigns must be done to limit early marriage, and impose laws on marriage before 18.
In the time it has taken to read this article 39 girls under the age of 18 have been married
Each year, 12 million girls are married before the age of 18
Hussaini, 14, is one of the lucky ones. He escaped. In 2018, as terrorism by extremist groups crossed into Burkina Faso, his village was attacked while he was in school. First, he heard screaming, and then gunfire. “They shot at our teachers and killed one of them,” he says. “They burned down the classrooms.” Hussaini ran home and within a matter of minutes, his family set off. They left everything behind, including school. Since that day, Hussaini has not set foot in a classroom. “I used to love school, to read, to count and to play during recess,” he says. “It’s been a year since I last went…”
From the end of 2017 to 2019, the number of schools forced to close due to rising insecurity tripled. More than 9,200 schools closed across Burkina Faso, Cameroon, and others, leaving 1.9 million children without education. These children face a much higher risk of recruitment by armed groups, gender-based violence and targeting by traffickers. Most parents in Africa will tell you that their children’s education is the most important investment they can make.
Education is the UN’s top priority because it is a basic human right and the foundation on which to build peace and drive sustainable development. Unfortunately, lack of education for the young generation remains highly present in the world.
The problem is a cycle: lack of education results in high child labor and low literacy rate thus increasing the world’s problems such as crimes. And in its turn, terrorism decreases education opportunities. Hussaini is among millions of other children that were deprived from quality education and had high chances to be part of child labor.
Poor basic education can be identified by high child employment rate. So, what are the target continent and countries?
The map shows that the Average Child Employment Rates (ages 7-14) is highest in Africa.
Having a deeper look, Cameroon ranks first for having the highest average child employment rate of 52.7% for years 2006-2015, followed by Niger, Benin, and Burkina Faso.
Referring to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal number 4:
What if kids will get exposed to education in early stage?
Can we influence their perception?
Fulfilling the Dream
Education cannot wait, and our world had enough. It is time to increase the number of education programs targeting young generation, and specifically African countries as previously mentioned, with Cameroon being a major target.
Creating education programs would:
Have education camps with volunteering and non volunteering teachers all around the world
Use workshops and fun trainings to later voluntarily engage kids
Involve underdeveloped countries in globalization
Introduce the diversity of cultures
Work on making education a need and will for every kid and parent- representing a lasting impact environment
Many past programs were successfully implemented in Cameroon such as Open Dreams, which already funded more than 200 scholarships and mentored more than 1000 students.
Is it Time?
Targeting Cameroon, and implementing it as a first stage project, would be a start to then expand into other countries.
Finally, from another perspective, how about looking at equalizing educational opportunities as a solution to many other issues? and working on SDG 4 for quality education will strongly and positively affect other goals such as ending poverty and hunger?
Trading is one of the most important industries in the UAE, as this is one of the richest countries. The UAE also imports many products, among which foodstuff, machinery, and equipment occupy the first positions among the most imported products in the Emirates. The availability of food is not an issue for residents of the UAE; supermarkets carry all the food they could possibly need or want. But how can a nation with the parched territory and hot weather all year round have access to a wide variety of food? Simple: The UAE is greatly reliant on imports.
-Did you know?
UAE faces a trade deficit when it comes to its food market due to limited arable land, increasing climate issues, and acute water shortage.
-What are the challenges?
With the recent COVID-19 outbreak revealing the precarious nature of imports, the UAE is now putting a strategy in place by investing in technologies to find a solution to food security.
-How can this situation improve?
They need to reduce the imports through a new food strategy which is investing in ag-tech!!
This situation can be improved through “Magic – Breathable Sand” which is one of the solutions that was developed by the Dake Group in partnership with the Rechsand Technology Group from Beijing. This type of sand is covered with a specific technology that allows air to travel through its particles and captures the water that it contains. They believe that it could be applied to desert sand to retain water and fertilizer usage by 70% and 50% respectively.
It was then tested and it worked: they were able to grow around 28 fruit trees including mango and lemon groves.
Various institutions in the United Arab Emirates provide a range of funding options to modernize agriculture.
Dubai’s Food Tech Valley: It’s a new initiative that seeks to increase food production in the UAE and establish it as a major international destination for the sector. Based out of Dubai, ICBA works by assisting farmers and agricultural organizations in developing policies and methods that will maximize the management of local natural resources. They provide advice on the optimum crop varieties to harvest as well as soil and water quality.
Water Scarcity: To make seawater drinkable and useful for agriculture, the United Arab Emirates mainly relies on an expensive procedure called desalination.
“Water is scarce. And as we already know, 90% of the water available in the UAE is desalinated water which is very costly and consumes energy,” explains Idland.
If half of the water was saved and used for agriculture, 30 tons of tomatoes could be produced every day. Additionally, there would be less need for the expensive and energy-intensive process of desalinating seawater.
Vertical Farming and New Technologies: The past few years have seen a lot of attention paid to Vertical Farming. The government and the corporate sector have invested millions in the technique despite the significant expense associated with it. In order to develop vertical farming facilities in the Emirate, the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO) announced in April that it would invest $100 million in four businesses, one of which being AeroFarms.
-Visualization and Analysis.
By looking at the data from World Development Indicators, we get the results in Tableau as below: “Imports Vs. Exports”
The data line chart in the World Development Indicators shows the percentages of food exports and imports in the United Arab Emirates from 1999 to 2021 that led to a “Trade Deficit”.
-Things to note.
Why is it magical for Desert Farming and Food Security?
Breathable roots are produced by breathing sand, and they can change the forest or other green cover.
Given that desert soil is free of any chemical or fertilizer contamination, it encourages quicker adoption of organic farming techniques.
A small layer of sand can save billions of gallons of water annually by reducing water use for agriculture, farming, forestry, or gardens by 80%.
Additionally, the breathable sand can transform desert farming to increase production quantity and quality.
“Increasing self-production within the local region and reducing the reliance on imports is what we are focusing on,” says Chandra Dake.
“We [in the UAE]are only looking at a few hundred thousand hectares to be food secure, and it is not too far,” he says.
Water is a basic human need; without it, survival is not possible.
Every day, 2.1 billion people wake up with no access to clean water. In other words, millions of families around the world do not drink, cook, or shower with clean water.
Each year, 3.4 million people die from unsafe and contaminated water sources, especially in the Sub Saharan African region with the highest mortality rate average of 101 persons per 100,000 in Chad, followed by an average of 87 in Somalia.
Access to basic drinking water, safely managed drinking water, and basic handwashing facilities
On average today, only 65% of the African population have access to basic drinking water, 31% use safe managed drinking water services, and only 26% have basic handwashing facilities including soap and water.
Despite global Sustainable Development Goals and commitments made in 2015 to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, a progress was only witnessed in a few African nations over the past three to five years, according to the UN’s first-ever assessment of water security in Africa. Results show Egypt as one of the top five most water-secure countries in Africa, while Ethiopia, Somalia, Niger, and Chad appear to be the least water-secure countries in Africa.
It is also noticeable that the rural population is the one water deprived the most: only 39% of the sub-Saharan population has access to basic drinking water, in comparison to 80% from the urban population.
Effects on Women & Children
More than 70% of women in Africa are employed in agriculture including water collection. That means that instead of attending school, raising a family, or simply having a decent job, African women are obliged to spend from 3 to 6 hours walking to arrive to the closest source and collect water for their household. Women who are subjected to collecting water are more likely to:
Drop out of school
Suffer from infections and diseases
Die from contaminated water
Be sexually abused and much more.
Women are not the only ones who suffer, nearly 6,000 children die of water related diseases each day. This is why, it is time to end the water crisis.
A call for help
How can we make safe water available for all? This can be done by installing sustainable water points in the most impoverished areas of the world. Our focus should be first on rural villages in Africa, where the walk to collecting clean water is on average 3.7 miles.
Previous drilling solutions have proven beneficial to the needed regions: over 9 million people have now access to clean water, and a good example is a rural primary school in southern Kenya. This school used to spend its entire government budget purchasing water for students and teachers. This budget was intended to cover teacher salaries and purchase required books and supplies, but water was determined to be a much greater need. After drilling water wells and obtaining clean water onsite, the school witnessed a knowledgeable 30% increase in attendance, and budgets were re-allocated for teachers salaries and books. This plan is a proven solution that helps increase education opportunities for girls and women, improve health and sanitation, and have more opportunities for development. Therefore, we urge you to donate now on https://wholives.org/donate/ allowing WHOlives organization to install new water points each month. You can change lives!