“Energy is fundamental to economic growth and environmental sustainability. Sustainable Development Goal 7 — ‘Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all’ — recognizes that energy underpins progress in all areas of development. But 1.1 billion people still live without electricity, and another 2.9 billion live without modern fuels for cooking and heating.” wrote Anita Marangoly George, the Senior Director of the World Bank Group’s Global Practice on Energy and Extractive Industries, in a recent Huffington Post blog.
We need to dramatically accelerate these gains. For renewables, despite enormous strides driven largely by lower technology costs, we need to see annual growth of 7.5 percent a year, up from 4 percent in 2012. We need to improve efficiency and lower the world’s energy intensity by at least 2.6 percent a year. And regions with the greatest energy deficits — Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia — need our help to improve energy access.
Currently over one billion people live without access to electricity in the developing world. They rely on harmful kerosene lanterns for light or diesel generators for AC power. Both options are extremely expensive, with people in some parts of Africa spending more than 25 percent of their income just on kerosene for lighting. But more importantly, burning fossil fuels in a confined space leads to serious health issues, especially for children who breathe in the toxic fumes on a daily basis. According to the World Bank, 800,000 people die every year from indoor air pollution.
Setting an example for the developing world, Africa has progressed quickly to mobile phones and it now has the opportunity to change the future landscape of its infrastructure with clean energy and distributed power. And this is where Business Connect comes in. As an international distributor of clean energy products in 36 countries, we focus on reaching the poorest people of the world. Our “bottom up” approach allows the most remote communities to have clean solar lights, clean cookstoves and renewable power to recharge their mobile phones and tablets.
We equip an eager community development leader with the products and knowledge and mobilize these new entrepreneurs to reach the local people with an array of clean resources. And we need your help. Please contact us for more information on how you can get involved.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post, “What’s Working: Sustainable Development Goals,” in conjunction with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The proposed set of milestones will be the subject of discussion at the UN General Assembly meeting on Sept. 25-27, 2015 in New York. The goals, which will replace the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (2000-2015), cover 17 key areas of development — including poverty, hunger, health, education, and gender equality, among many others. As part of The Huffington Post’s commitment to solutions-oriented journalism, this What’s Working SDG blog series will focus on one goal every weekday in September. This post addresses Goal 7.