NAIROBI, Kenya (PAMACC News) - It will take more than policy change for Africa to shift from the fuel to the renewable energy economy, scientists have warned.
Prof. James Nyang’aya, of the University of Nairobi, says governments must be ready to invest in clean innovation and technology, if the continent is to make the next growth leap.
“It is not an easy replacement process,” says Prof. Nyang’aya. “Renewable energy must be accompanied by devices that are able to function with new power sources.”
Experts at an April UN summit in Nairobi singled out the transport sector as the most urgent economic engine that needs to shift from ‘dirty’ to ‘clean’ fuel.
According to the report, hybrid electric vehicles, continued use of old vehicles is one of the leading contributors to greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, using over a quarter of the world’s energy.
It recommends the adoption of light duty vehicle fleets by African governments.
“The push all over the world is about making renewable energy as efficiently accessible as fossil fuels,” says Prof. Nyang’aya. “Africa should find out what works economically and environmentally.”
However, East Africa has made headways in ensuring its vehicle fleet uses petroleum products that are of very high standards, says Wanjiku Manyara, of the Petroleum Institute of East Africa.
According to her, the region imports fuel products with less than 50 ppm, adding that: “The East African Community is the only one outside the AU that was able to enforce and harmonize regional standards that met the international threshold.”
But a growing number of experts prefer innovation to ride along policy change, if Africa is to achieve the green mile.
Jane Akumu of UN Environment says governments should build bigger lanes to enable people to walk and cycle.
At the same time, walkways should be lined with fruit trees to protect pedestrians with shade and even provide edibles.
“There is a lot of advancement in terms of the fuel economy,” says Akumu while wondering: “Why is Africa not taking advantage of where the world is moving?”