Renewables Had a Record Year in 2016

solar
Renewable energy production is growing more every year and 2016 was no exception to that growth. In 2016 capacity of renewables increased by 8.7% and for the first time solar growth outpaced wind energy. Unsurprisingly the majority of the growth occurred in Asia seeing 58% of global growth happening in that one continent. Africa saw their installation of renewable energy sources per year double to 4GW of new capacity. These numbers all come from a report released today by the International Renewable Energy Agency.

This reenable growth is great to see! With the coal plants being shutdown in every major economy (except the USA) we should see this growth in capacity of renewable energy production continue! Cleaner air for all.

“We are witnessing an energy transformation taking hold around the world, and this is reflected in another year of record breaking additions in new renewable energy capacity,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin. “This growth in deployment emphasizes the increasingly strong business case for renewables which also have multiple socio-economic benefits in terms of fueling economic growth, creating jobs and improving human welfare and the environment. But accelerating this momentum will require additional investment in order to move decisively towards decarbonising the energy sector and meet climate objectives. This new data is an encouraging sign that though there is much yet to do, we are on the right path,” Mr. Amin added.

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AU Passport Launches for Government Workers

The African Union has announced that a significant step has been made to creating free movement between borders. That significant step is a special passport for government officials and head of state who need to travel between countries. The passport is only useful for a small group of people but it shows that the AU is on its way to creating a stronger union with free movement for the population.

Having a visa-free passport is instrumental to the creation of a borderless Africa which will, in turn, accelerate socio-economic growth. According to Acha Leke, the Director of Mckinsey & Company, the passport is essential in order to boost tourism revenue and increase intra-African trade.

The release of the AU passport is a significant mile stone for the outgoing AU Chairperson, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. In her last opening speech on Sunday, she noted that with the launch of the passport, the body has been able to cross off two big items on its to-do list. At the summit, Dlamini Zuma presented the new passport to the incoming chairperson, H.E. Idriss Deby Itno, the President of Chad, and Paul Kagame, the Rwandan President.

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Meningitis Outbreak in Africa Will Not Happen

Meningitis has killed a lot of people, most of them in Africa in what is referred to as “the meningitis belt”. Every couple of years a meningitis outbreak flares up and ravages many countries, but not this year. This year meningitis was beaten by a cadre of countries and organizations. Many lives will be saved thanks to their efforts.

The last big outbreak was in 1996-1997. 250,000 people were infected and some 25,000 people died. Even in off years, there are low level meningitis outbreaks. Last year, 1,300 people died from the disease in Africa.

But this year, there will be no meningitis season at all.

It did not make front page headlines, but last month it was announced that cases of meningitis dropped to effectively zero in 2014 across the meningitis belt.

The disease has been effectively wiped out through a combination of technological innovation, political will, and an unusual collaboration between the pharmaceutical industry, NGOs and governments.

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Thanks to Mirella!

Ethiopia Opens Africa’s Largest Wind Farm

Ethiopia is looking to massively expand their energy infrastructure and renewable sustainable energy is a key part of their strategy. This is great to see new energy installations focus on the long-term effectiveness and viability of projects.

“Various studies have proved that there is potential to harness abundant wind energy resources in every region of Ethiopia. We cannot maintain growth without utilising the energy sector,” Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said in a speech at the launch.

Experts put Ethiopia’s hydropower potential at around 45,000 MW and geothermal at 5,000 MW, while its wind power potential is believed to be Africa’s third-largest behind Egypt and Morocco.

Read more at Al Jazeera.

Brazil Restructures Debt With African Countries

Brazil has announced that they will essentially “write off” about $90 million in debt from African nations. This is for helping the countries alleviate their huge levels of debt while helping create stronger economic ties between Brazil and their indebted partner nations.

“To maintain a special relationship with Africa is strategic for Brazil’s foreign policy.”

He added that most of the debt was accumulated in the 1970s and had been renegotiated before.

A spokesman for Brazil’s Foreign Ministry told Efe news agency that the debt restructuring for some countries would consist of more favourable interest rates and longer repayment terms.

Congo-Brazzaville owes the most to Brazil – $352m – followed by Tanzania ($237m) and Zambia ($113.4m).

The other countries to benefit are Ivory Coast, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, and Sudan.

Read more at BBC.