NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
A new African sustainability research
hub that is expected to make a contribution towards the
promotion of low-carbon economic development has been launched
"A low-carbon economic development path in Africa is able
to deliver clean and sustainable energy to millions of
energy-poor people across the continent," Judi Wakhungu,
Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Water and Natural
Resources said in the capital Nairobi.
She noted that the hub is to help drive a productive
green economic expansion for the continent and deliver
higher sustainable standards of living well into the future.
The new hub is part of the Pathways to Sustainability
Global Consortium, which is a group of six global research
hubs located in South Asia, China, Europe, Latin America,
North America, and now Africa to tackle sustainability
challenges facing the world.
The six sustainability hubs are linked through the
Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Social,
Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability
(STEPS) Center at the University of Sussex, Britain.
The hub, the first STEPS Hub in sub-Saharan Africa, is a huge
contribution that will bring together researchers from across
the continent to work collaboratively on research promoting
pro-poor low carbon economic development.
Wakhungu observed that providing access to energy, especially
for the poor, in Kenya and in other African countries remains a
According to a 2012 United Nations report, the percentage of
Africans classed as living in extreme poverty is 47 per cent
with 620 million people lacking access to grid electricity.
Energy demand in Africa is, however, expected to grow by
80 percent by the year 2040.
"Power supply has not kept pace with high rates of
growth, and energy demand constantly outweighs supply across
the continent," said Wakhungu.
According to the Executive Director of the African Center for
Technology Studies, Cosmas Ochieng, Africa has sufficient
resource to meet the energy needs once they are tapped.
Participants at the meeting observed that innovative agendas
do not always have to be set from outside the continent adding
that all development strategic plans has to be set within the
They noted that ideas from within Africa need to be tailored
to African contexts for them to succeed.
Ian Scoones, the director of the ESRC STEPS Center at the
University of Sussex, said political debate was needed about
the best ways to achieve low carbon transformation.
"We want to challenge the idea that there’s a single way
to achieve low carbon transition," he said.