An overview of the state of solar across the continent by trade body the Africa Solar Industry Association has highlighted a patchy policy landscape where clean power ambitions are often not followed through.
Bboxx rents out offgrid PV systems and TVs to rural villagers across Africa. Customers can buy electricity under a mobile-based pay-as-you-go model.
The battery and renewable energy industries are facing increased scrutiny for their human rights impacts. In December, U.S.-based technology and electric vehicle companies were named in the first lawsuit seeking to hold downstream companies responsible for allegedly aiding and abetting child labour in cobalt extraction in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (https://bit.ly/2UgQPgZ). Energy storage technology, such as batteries, is increasingly developed alongside solar and wind-powered electricity generation. This means the battery industry’s material risks are now of direct concern to a broader group of companies involved in the global transition to a low carbon economy.
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is one of the world’s most natural mineral rich countries, yet it is plagued with poverty, inequality, corruption, human rights violations and many more challenges. Mining for materials like cobalt is at the center of these. According to state-owned miner Gecamines, over 22% of the country’s GDP is generated in the mining sector, while 70% of the world’s cobalt is produced in the country.
The scale of fossil fuel deals signed between African governments and U.K. oil and gas interests reportedly amounted to more than 11 times the volume of renewable energy commitments as Britain scrambles for post-Brexit financial opportunities.
Félix Tshisekedi reportedly said he wants to use standalone energy units, such as solar home systems, to bring electricity to at least 21 million people in the next nine years.
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