2015 was a critical year in the global policy debate particularly around climate change and sustainable development.
In September 2015, UN member states adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whose 7th goal focuses on affordable and clean energy while in December of the same year, member states unanimously adopted the COP21 Paris agreement, committing themselves to pursue development pathway that would reduce global emissions to a level well below 2°C as articulated under their respective Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).
Policy makers around the world are exploring strategies that will promote access to clean, sustainable and affordable energy.
The continent of African has received considerable attention from the international community especially due to the immense Renewable Energy Potential it has, coupled with the significant amount of energy the continent needs to light up and power the region.
In the run-up to COP21 in Paris, Christian Aid and its partner organizations, key amongst them the Pan-African Climate Justice Alliance (PACJA)1 started a global campaign dubbed Big Shift International.
The campaign’s main aim is to influence a shift of investments away from Fossil Fuel to Renewable Energy (RE), while at the same time demanding for the delivery of clean, sustainable, affordable and reliable energy to the millions of energy poor populations.
Initial activities for this campaign in Africa involved pilot research on energy policies from 3 countries (Malawi, Kenya and Ethiopia) in order to provide the necessary evidence for policy and advocacy work.
This was later followed by validation exercise for the research findings, then consolidation of an action plan to influence energy policies at the local, national, regional and international level. From these exercise, one thing that was evident was that although the demand for access to clean energy in the country is high, appreciation of the government’s policies and strategies for the energy sector is still low, both at the national, as well as the sub-national level.
This thus complicates the public’s level of engagement with the policy makers, both in terms of playing their crucial part in the realization of this agenda, as well as demanding for access of the same from the government. Recognizing this, Christian2 , PACJA & ACSEA3 (African Coalition for Sustainable Energy & Access) have organized a series of activities between June & July to mobilize and educate the public and popularize the energy agenda.