(Source: J.C. Mohamed-Katerere)
Energy and high levels of dependency on biomass in Eastern Africa present special challenges for human well-being and development.
Sustainable energy is about using energy wisely. This includes increasing use of energy produced by clean technologies or from renewable sources. Renewable energy sources (RES) include all sources of energy that are captured from natural processes, including water, solar, wind, geothermal and biomass. Some of these alternative energy sources are discussed more fully in Chapter 2: Atmosphere and Chapter 4: Freshwater. The scenario analysis reveals the different trends and opportunities associated with different policy choices.
Market Forces scenario
In this scenario, the sub-region focuses on the modernization of the industrial sector and greater integration into the regional and global economy. This is complemented by international commitments to investing in the transfer and development of sustainable energy technologies in order to improve the quality of life in developing countries, as agreed to at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in 2002. Achieving this requires the commercialization of renewable energy technologies through innovative financing mechanisms, targeted subsidies and financing to reach the grassroots. Privatization is a key aspect of this. There is increased support to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help them become involved in the provision of rural energy and the maintenance of equipment. This improves levels of efficiency in the energy sector, and has the added benefit of freeing government funds, which can now be invested in the provision of social services.
Policy implementation and reform is driven by the desire for economic growth. Agricultural modernization policies result in increasing agricultural commercialization and export-orientated production. This results in increased demand for energy to support production. Rural energy services adequately support improved productivity and reduce post-harvest losses through better preservation. There is marked expansion in the processing and export of commodities such as coffee, fish and cut flowers. The requirements set out by Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and environmental audits are enforced but only so as to avoid costly mistakes, such as in the Hola irrigation scheme along Tana River in Kenya that collapsed in 1989 due to a change in the course of the river.
Land reform seeks to empower women and strengthen women’s land rights, so as to make them more effective producers. Improved land rights will be helpful for women seeking small loans or other support, and this may help increase investments in agriculture and thus productivity. Increased support to agricultural extension services, including powered irrigation and water supply, results in improved food production and this has positive implications for household nutrition and food security at the national level.
Improved regional cooperation leads to an improvement in the overall security situation in the sub-region. This along with the economic boom results in increased tourism. It is hoped that this may help reduce the conflict between communities and wildlife, for example in Il Ngwesi and the Trans Mara area in Kenya where they have been experimenting with a range of community and private enterprises. Chapter 3: Land discusses these tensions.
Industry and service sectors grow and opportunities for employment are rife. In order to reduce costs and profit losses due to climate-induced power shortages, energy intensive industries like sugar and cement manufacturing increasingly employ strategies for co-generation of electricity using by-products of the agro-processing industry like bagasse, ethanol and coffee husks. Increasingly, China is looked to for lessons in mitigating climate extremes and achieving remarkable economic growth, based on its successes over the last decade.
Policy Reform scenario
Ensuring the availability of energy for development and improving the capacity for adaptation to climate change and variability are key focuses in this scenario.
Energy strategies to improve the opportunities available to poor people are incorporated into the national development frameworks. In particular, almost all the national Poverty Reduction Strategies explicitly state that improved energy services are required to achieve their poverty reduction goals. In one country, a target to increase access to energy by 10 percent by 2012 is set. Although the government is committed to a programme of gradual substitution of wood fuel (which constitutes 96 percent of domestic energy supply) by rural electrification, the associated costs mean that this process will be slow. The national target is not met. Given the continued dependence on biomass, deforestation increases and water catchment areas are degraded. This also impacts the availability of water and thus the achievement of development targets to increase access to safe water. The water table recedes further, and, consequently, harnessing groundwater requires deep drilling, which in turn has cost implications for using groundwater. It is predicted that the Millennium Development Goal target of reducing by half the number of people without access to safe water will only be met by 2025.
Governments invest in the development of large dams and reservoirs on the various river bodies to provide energy to the growing urban centres. This helps support increased economic activity and a middle class that can afford electricity begins to emerge. This has positive impacts for the environment as pressure on forests for charcoal for urban areas is reduced.
With climate change models indicating that lead time to greenhouse gas (GHG) stabilization is at least 50 years, the governments of the sub-region realize that adaptation is just as important as mitigation. And although the sub-region is not a major contributor to the causes of climate change, the issue of implementation of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) takes centre stage. Countries of the sub-region prepare to cooperate with industrialized countries in order to enable them to comply with the emissions reductions requirement of the Kyoto Protocol. The planned adaptation projects are “climate-friendly” and designed to reduce the vulnerability to climate change by increasing the opportunities currently available. Collaborative rural electrification programmes are developed to increase access in rural areas to energy supplies through grid extension, independent power producers and solar or renewable energy. The emphasis is on small-scale projects in the renewable energy sector, such as solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. These are installed in rural areas, and distributed to ensure energy supply for clinics and hospitals, water pumps, schools, communications and domestic lighting purposes. In one country, the distribution of energy efficient stoves gradually replaces the traditional stoves.
Fortress World scenario
(Source: UNEP/DEWA/GRID 2005. Based on Simonett 1989)
The ever-growing population will increase pressure on the environment, and many of these changes will have multiple effects on development and livelihood opportunities. Land resources will be particularly hard hit. For example, there will be negative impacts on soils including increased loss through erosion, decreasing soil fertility and poor moisture retention. The changing soil quality further destabilizes the equilibrium of the natural hydrological cycle. In an attempt to curb the impending population explosion, strict population control policies are enforced.
Policies in the water, land and forestry sectors are reviewed in a bid to address the impacts of climate variability, but are not wide-reaching and focus primarily on the needs of the elite. Land reform policies, meant to improve tenure through individual ownership and thus encourage people to manage their land responsibly, result in poor landholders being bought out by the rich. Increasingly, poor people are squeezed into fragile and marginal lands. In the many mountainous areas in the sub-region this leads to mudslides, increased soil erosion, and increased flood run-off. This decline in environmental quality leads to a decline in overall quality of life.
Indigenous people are pushed off their traditional grazing lands. Conflicts over freshwater resources increase as the landowners fence off their land, including the water sources on them which traditionally acted as dry-season watering holes for migratory and pastoral peoples, undermining their established coping strategies. Given the increasing pressures on and conflicts over land, water and forest resources, strict measures are adopted to protect the remaining resources. These are based on exclusion, and command-and-control strategies. However, this exclusion exacerbates the situation.
In another country, the charcoal trade continues to be a source of finance for local warlords and factions, despite the fact that export is banned. The politically unstable situation makes the enforcement of regulations difficult. This trade fuels more conflict, because militias can spend the profits on arms and a vicious cycle sets in. These patterns have been evident in some countries in the sub-region, such as Somalia, where port towns like Kismayu are fought over by rival groups keen to control the charcoal trade. Negative impacts of deforestation are seen along coastal areas which are now affected by creeping desertification. At this rate, land degradation, loss of biodiversity and the degradation of freshwater, coastal and marine resources are likely to continue beyond 2015.
Due to poverty, the majority of the population cannot afford to invest in technologies that support the more efficient use of energy and therefore biomass resources are increasingly depleted. As a result of deforestation, there is increased sediment in rivers and consequently there is a silting up of dams. This affects reservoir capacity and undermines the generation of hydropower energy. Biomass resources such as animal waste, which have traditionally been used to enhance soil fertility, are not ploughed back into the land since they are being utilized as sources of energy. The impacts of climate variability, declining crop yields, the spread of diseases and pests and reduced economic potential threaten food production and security, human health, economic growth, lives, livelihoods and infrastructure.
In this context, power rationing is adopted, further threatening already dwindling economies. This trend is expected to continue. In nearly all countries, the manufacturing sector has been growing at a rate of 10 percent annually; however, this growth is now under threat from the declining energy situation. In this scenario, the cost of energy is about 45 percent of the total cost of production. The sub-region may therefore experience declining levels of foreign direct investment (FDI).
Some countries in the sub-region decide to focus on large-scale electrification policies based on the development of hydropower. This hydropower development results in the displacement of riparian communities and has negative impacts on dry-season availability of water.
Great Transitions scenario
In this scenario, there is an increasing focus on good governance which results in significant political developments. Inclusive democracy within the sub-region means that there is an independent judiciary, an open civil society and a free media as well as a broad commitment and respect for human rights, sustainable development and transparency in government.
Development assistance recognizes that “one size does not fit all” and that development initiatives must be tailored to the needs of specific groups, and their interests and priorities need to be specifically taken into account. Also, an increased emphasis is placed on broad participation in defining solutions. Therefore, poor people are included in policy processes designed to meet their energy needs and provide long-term solutions.
Governments become more interested in the well-being of their people, ensuring among other things that affordable energy services are made more accessible.
To forestall the looming energy crisis, the power sectors in the different countries are integrated to more effectively share the available energy resources in the sub-region. A protocol is adopted under which a master plan for the sub-region is developed. Cooperation with other sub-regions is also promoted.
Bilateral trade and aid policies in the energy sector, which currently focus on fossil fuel technologies, are reoriented towards sustainable energy and seek to encourage investment in the renewable energy sector. Although industrialized countries are at the forefront of this sector, governments address the need to support the development of local technical skills and knowledge. The private sector – particularly in the technology and banking sectors – is encouraged to form partnerships with SMEs for the supply of energy services which are accessible to and appropriate for poor people. For example, increased access to and availability of energy increases Information and Communication Technology (ICT) usage at schools, opening up additional educational opportunities like distance learning. Empowered by their raised literacy levels, women are able to use reliable energy to improve the scope for their enterprises, creating opportunities for employment and income generation.
(Source: UNEP 2006)
There is increased investment in more efficient biomass energy technologies. This has a number of positive impacts. It reduces the share of household income spent on cooking, lighting and keeping warm. Additionally, it reduces the time women and children spend on collecting wood, leading to an increase in the number of girls attending school. It also has some positive health impacts, including the reduction of indoor pollution. Previously, the heavy loads of fuel wood carried by women and children affected their health. There are environmental benefits too: as pressures on forests start to decrease, catchment areas are preserved and this contributes to better quality of water. Improved grazing areas and availability of water leads to reducing conflict between pastoralists, and between migratory peoples and permanent settlements.
Encouraged by their shareholders, multinationals, such as the cement industry, undertake restoration activities, including site restoration, for example through tree planting or conversion of non-productive mines into nature reserves. These attract large numbers of toufrists and contribute to the livelihoods of communities in their immediate environment through the provision of jobs, while also supporting the learning objectives of schools. Waste products like bagasse and coffee husks are also used in the generation of electricity.
Existing monitoring programmes, for example the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) (formerly the Drought Monitoring Centre – Nairobi) in Kenya, continue to be expanded and the development of sub-regional databases for early warning purposes is supported. At national level, disaster preparedness improves. Past experiences become an important factor in shaping policy responses. For example, experiences around drought and changing rainfall patterns become the basis for new early warning system. Programmes that promote the integrated management of transboundary resources, such as the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI), take on renewed importance.
Policy messages from the scenarios
Policy messages of the four scenarios are presented in Box 2. From each of these scenarios, positive lessons for policy choices can be identified.
- Blank, H.G., Mutero, C.M. and Murray-Rust, H. (eds. 2002). The Changing Face of Irrigation in Kenya: Opportunities for Anticipating Change in Eastern and Southern Africa. International Water Management Institute, Colombo.
- Gordon, B., Mackay, R. and Rehfuess, E., 2004. Inheriting the World: the Atlas of Children’s Environmental Health and the Environment. World Health Organization, Geneva.
- Simonett, O., 1989. Potential Impacts of Global Warming. GRID Case Studies on Climatic Change. Global Resource Information Database, Geneva.
- UNEP, 2005. [www.unep.org/geo/data/africa GEO Africa Data Portal]. Global Environment Outlook. United Nations Environment Programme, Nairobi.
- UNEP, 2006. Africa Environment Outlook 2.
- WRI in collaboration with UNEP, UNDP and the World Bank, 2005. World Resources 2005: The Wealth of the Poor – Managing Ecosystems to Fight Poverty. World Resources Institute in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme, the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank.World Resources Series.World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
This is a chapter from Africa Environment Outlook 2: Our Environment, Our Wealth (e-book).
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