Africa: Women Are Central to Africa’s Energy Transformation
All Africa, March 8, 2016. Image credit: Peggy_Marco
It is time to recognize that modernizing household energy is central to Africa’s development – and that means bringing women to the table.
Women and girls collect most of the firewood, spending an average of 2.1 hours per day on the task. They also do most of the cooking – a task that consumes about 1.6 hours per day, according to World Bank estimates. This is time that could be spent on education and income-earning activities, costing sub-Saharan African economies as much as US$29.6 billion per year, the World Bank estimates. Combined with health, environmental and other economic impacts, the cost is close to US$60 billion.
Women-led renewable energy businesses have a strong track record in accelerating off-grid energy access.
For example, Solar Sister, which combines clean energy technology with a deliberately women-centred direct sales network to deliver improved lighting and cooking options to women in rural Africa, has grown from two to 1,250 entrepreneurs in five years. The company has so far created employment opportunities for 2,000 women across Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria, and has delivered clean, energy efficient products that benefit 300,000 people in the region.