African Governments Urged to Shift Policy in the Energy Sector

African governments have been called upon to consider shifting policy in the energy sector by investing in industrialisation and providing subsidies on electricity for people in rural areas who are extremely poor.

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African Management Services Company (AMSCO) Chairperson Ali Mufuruki said governments should consider making a shift in policy for energy by providing subsidies for poor people to allow them to have access to energy.

Mufuruki proposed that government should consider powering their communities using renewable energy as it is an environmentally safe and easier to manage for people in remote areas as it is also readily available.

This was disclosed during a Wednesday panel discussion on the topic on green energy and innovation at the 2016 African Development Bank (AfDB) Annual Meetings at Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka, Zambia.

“A lot of money is being wasted in budgets on rural electrification, which uses extensive infrastructure just to light up one village when those villages can use renewable energy as an alternative,” he said.

Mufuruki said some of the constraints impeding the progress of providing power to communities in Africa is the control of power utility companies by politicians.

He said most African leaders have a tendency to use power utility firms for their political ambition.

Mufuruki called on governments look at investing in green energy as it can lead to greater productivity on the African continent.

He said the move will help many countries move forward at a faster rate.

Carbon Africa Project Manager Carsten Jung said some of the constraints hindering the progress of powering Africa include the lack of bankable projects.

For his part, Jung called for the increase in bankable projects if Africa is to achieve its goals in the energy sector.

He lamented that many projects lack funding, as most of the funds get used up in the initial stages.

“Many projects in Africa fail because the implementation process takes too long. Some projects take more than eight years to be implemented and these cause a strain on the resources,” he said.

Jung called for efficiency in the provision of projects and also the need for projects to take off quickly.

He further called on African countries to take centre stage in managing the affairs surrounding energy and to have a sense of ownership in energy-related matter and projects.

“Policy drives investment,” he said, matter-of-factly.

He also said that there were a lot of gaps in the energy sector, which include lack of technological advancement, lack of resources and lack of industrialisation for energy use.

Consolidated Infrastructure Group Chief Investment Officer Diron Moore said renewable energy has the potential to provide power to Africa because it is cheaper.

Moore advised that African countries should look at the option of renewable energy and to open up pathways for investors to consider exploring the avenue.

He said some African countries are endowed with natural resources, such as coal. Investing in renewable energy was good, he said, because it is reliable and has reliable cash flows.

The gaps that have been identified in the energy sector in Africa should be used as an opportunity for stakeholders to invest in the sector, Moore continued.

Meanwhile, Michael Gera, Managing Partner of Energy Access Venture, lamented the mindset of people in rural areas who do not see the need for electricity.

“Some of these people live right under the grid and they do not care about being connected,” he said.

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Source: allafrica

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Bid to monitor sanitation service

A DRAFT policy which elevates sanitation as a priority and holds municipalities to account has received the backing of social justice groups.

The last time the policy on sanitation was reviewed was 10 years ago.

The Department of Water and Sanitation has drafted a new policy, and opened it for public comment until March14, with some of the focus areas being the right to access to basic sanitation services and prioritising hygiene and basic sanitation services to vulnerable people and unserviced households.

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Marie Brisley, the department’s water policy chief director said it will play a stronger role in ensuring municipalities budget properly and meet the standards in terms of wastewater works.

There has been no substantive policy regulating sanitation provision in South Africa, which has left implementation haphazard and without basic standards, Social Justice Coalition (SJC) spokesperson Axolile Notywala said on Tuesday.

Brisley admitted that sanitation provision had not received the necessary attention it required, and was usually the last thing municipalities budgeted for.

“That is why a lot of the wastewater treatment works are neglected and the water that goes back into the water resources does not meet the standards,” Brisley said.

At a public consultation in the city yesterday, SJC deputy general secretary Dustin Kramer said he liked aspects of the draft policy, and Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement leader Loyiso Nkohla said the policy considered a wide range of issues.

Ses’Khona spearheaded a campaign for the installation of permanent toilets in informal settlements by dumping human faeces in public areas, notably the Cape Town International Airport.

“The government has done a wonderful job in covering issues on a wider spectrum. But they have neglected to include consultation from groups before drafting the policy,” Nkohla said.

In a statement, Notywala said: “Over several years, the SJC has led a campaign for clean and safe sanitation in informal settlements.

“Access to clean, safe and dignified sanitation facilities for all is one of the most basic rights. It is not a luxury. The continued violation of this right is one of apartheid’s greatest legacies and today’s most difficult challenges.

“We encourage communities and relevant stakeholders to make submissions and to ensure that the policy ultimately adopted is appropriate, and has the impact so urgently needed.”

Brisley said the country was expected to experience increased urbanisation, which will put strain on urban sanitation systems.

But at the same time, growing and changing settlements in rural areas are also putting pressure on small and limited sanitation systems.

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City bans cars for a month, doesn’t collapse into chaos

Lots of places close streets to cars for a day, but what happens when you do it for a month?

Could this happen in North America? Take a neighborhood and ban cars from it for a month?

It happened in 2013 in Suwon, South Korea, and it’s happening in Johannesburg, South Africa, later this year. It’s the Eco-Mobility World Festival, intended to “mobilize and raise local and international support for ecomobile alternatives to fossil-fuel transport,” and looks like a whole lot of fun. According to the Urban Idea, the Suwon fest was a huge success.
Around 4,300 residents in the neighborhood adopted an ecomobile lifestyle to experience how traveling through integrated, socially inclusive, and healthy transport options can positively change their routines. The residents used a variety of vehicles such as bicycles, trailers for carrying children and goods, tandem bicycles, recumbent bikes, pedelecs (electric assisted bicycles) and velo-taxis.
Anything but a car. And although the festival lasted only a month, the after-effects are still being felt. Adele Peters writes in Fast Company:
After the festival ended, the city also gathered residents for a huge meeting to ask for ideas for more permanent

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changes. The biggest result: The speed limit was cut nearly in half, to about 18 miles per hour. That meant that commuters no longer wanted to use the neighborhood as a shortcut, and traffic started to disappear. Neighbors also decided to eliminate side parking on some major streets — and parking on sidewalks — which helped encourage people to start walking and biking to run errands.

Why a month? According to festival creative director Konrad Otto-Zimmermann, it takes that long for people to really adapt; any less and people can just rearrange their appointments and work around it. “It has to be a month in order to hit people’s daily agenda, so they really experience ecomobility in their daily life.”
Could this happen in North America? It’s unlikely. One of the partners behind the festival is ICLEI, an organization that helps cities and local governments reach sustainability goals — and one that is being banned in city after city in the U.S. for being part of a United Nations’ plot to impose sustainable development. It is often accused of trying to take away peoples cars and force them into tiny apartments.
When Toronto tried closing its streets for a day, the mayor went nuts and said “We have parks for people to walk, for exercise, to do yoga. You don’t have to close down a major street to walk, do yoga — that’s for parks.”
But as Gil Peñalosa of 8-80 cities (a nonprofit organization based in Toronto dedicated to helping cities become more pedestrian- and bike-friendly) notes, we have to break out of this mindset and take back the streets.
Building more roads to solve transport problems is like putting off a fire with gasoline. We should put pedestrians as our priority and question the role of streets. People need to walk, and walking must be best friends with cycling and public transport.
Perhaps that’s the message of Suwon: Cars have their place, but they shouldn’t dominate the city; they should play nice with cyclists and pedestrians. When changes are made that affect daily habits, people adapt. So slow down the cars, promote alternative means of transport — because streets are for people.
Source: mnn

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