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Best Practices & Key Recommendations from Young Leaders in Energy Access
Africa-EU Energy Partnership (AEEP)
Jens Jaeger (ARE), David Lecoque (ARE), Marcus Wiemann (ARE), Hadley Taylor (AEEP)
Published in
January 2018
Achieving universal energy access in Africa is a huge challenge, and one that must be met in a sustainable manner in order to ensure a secure and renewable energy future for the continent. Different sources indicate that around 620 million people in Africa lack access to electricity and that 87% of those lacking energy access globally live in rural areas. Given the expected high population growth for Africa, this figure is likely to further increase if no effective action is taken.

As advocates and innovators for bringing sustainable energy solutions to households, communities, regions and countries, youth play a pivotal role in meeting this challenge. African youth (15–24 years) constitute about 37% of the working age population, but account for more than 60% of all unemployed people in Africa. It is hence no surprise that African Heads of State and Government have devoted the year 2017 to “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth”, while the EU has proposed an enhanced partnership with Africa on peace and security, and job creation for the youth.

In the just concluded 5th AU EU Summit, leaders adopted a joint declaration setting out their commitment to invest in youth for accelerated inclusive growth and sustainable development. Crucially, an increasing number of African and European youth have risen to take the energy access challenge head-on and have come up with many innovative solutions and initiatives, which can help scale up access to energy in rural Africa.

To raise awareness and to honour the invaluable work and commitment of young people, the Energy Access work stream of the AEEP released a Call for Proposals in early 2017 for young advocates, public sector workers, or social entrepreneurs to show how they have improved energy access in Africa.

Six Young Leaders were chosen as winners and were invited to the ARE Energy Access Investment Forum in Lisbon, Portugal on 22–23 March 2017 to receive the award from high-level representatives of leading organisations. The organisations include: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the European Commission, the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting

Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL) and The African Association for Rural Electrification (CLUB-ER). The Young Leaders in Energy Access also presented a Communiqué with recommendations to the high-level representatives.