A leading privately owned African Power, Energy and Gas firm, Sahara Group, has called for the attainment of affordable energy through investments in alternative sources to enhance socio-economic growth in rural communities across the globe by 2030.
Executive Director, Sahara Group Mr. Tonye Cole made the call at the United Nations meeting Sahara advocates alternative energy investments at United Nations meeting dedicated to the Sustainable Development Goals during the ongoing 70th United Nations General Assembly in New York.
Cole, who represents Sahara Group – a leading African Energy, Power and Infrastructure Conglomerate – on the Advisory Board of the Sustainable Development Goals Fund (SDG-F), told delegates that governments in developing nations need to explore more partnership platforms with the private sector in the quest for alternative energy sources.
The meeting which focused on Sustainable Development Goal 7 (Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all) was attended by President of the World Bank, H.E Mr. Jim Yong Kim, Foreign Minister of Denmark, H.E Mr. Kristian Jensen, Prime Minister of Benin, H.E Mr. Lionel Zinsou, European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, H.E Mr. Neven Mimica and President of the African Development Bank, H.E Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, among others.
“Substantial investments are required to achieve affordable and sustainable energy in developing nations. Wind and solar energy are possible options that can be harnessed in rural communities where consumption is relatively low. With the right strategy and unwavering commitment from all stakeholders, we will be setting solid foundations for deploying alternative energy sources to transform lives and small businesses for disadvantaged communities across the globe,” Cole explained.
Cole said governments and power companies need to collaborate on sensitizing the populace on the value chain of the power sector to ensure support for policies as well as address incidences of energy losses and theft that disrupt energy availability in developing nations.
Sahara Group has among other initiatives and collaborations, been promoting alternative energy sources through the “Sahara Light Up Nigeria Challenge”, a capacity building competition that seeks to produce inventions that support renewable, alternative and sustainable sources of power supply.
The competition, which the company hosts through Sahara Foundation, inspires students of higher institutions of learning across Nigeria to explore opportunities for achieving sustainable power supply within their environment. Sahara is exploring opportunities of replicating the project across other locations where it operates.
In 2015, some students from the winning institution, Kaduna Polytechnic, located in the Northwest Nigeria, invented a self-running hydro-power system that runs solely on the kinetic energy of water.
The energy produced is stored in a 75-litre enclosed water tank that houses a pump and other materials required to drive generation of electricity.
The technology is made from locally modified and recycled parts to ensure that it is environmentally friendly. The development of this project has brought about an alternative to electricity generation for small businesses, a health care center and a school within the impact area of the project.

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