By Patrick Edema
The government of Uganda has over the past ten years embarked on investing in the energy sector with the aim of increasing access of electricity to Ugandans. The 2019 national budget under the theme “Industrialization for job creation and shared prosperity” largely moored on the long-term goal of transforming the country into a Middle income status through the implementation of the Vision 2040 programme.
Electricity access remains the key engine for economic development which will be critical if the country is to achieve middle income status by 2040. The path to becoming a middle income nation will bring with it increased demand for energy and the country will need to expand its energy production in order to achieve Goal 7 (affordable and clean energy) and SDG 13 (Climate action).
However, according to Uganda Bureau of Statistics, electricity access still remains low with only 21.6% of the population having access to electricity and 90% of rural communities rely on biomass for their sources of energy liking cooking, lighting and heating.
Therefore, investing in renewable sources will promote the concept of sustainable development, making it part of the educational system, and devoting best educational practices in this area in order to achieve the Uganda’s Agenda and its future objectives with regard to sustainable development.
It is also critically important that we engage young people in the pursuit of sustainable development and climate action and government should demonstrate its commitment to playing a leading role in the clean energy transition and to adopt a sustainable development model. Working with the Ministry of Education, government can inspire youth to support the action agenda and develop a model of collaboration that can be replicated in countries all over the world.
Youth development is a high priority for Uganda’s visionary leadership and stems from its conviction that when we invest in our youth, we invest in our future. Incorporating renewable energy and sustainable development into different sectors like health and education, this will not only enable us to harness young minds and prepare them to become environmental stewards, but also pique their interest in pursuing careers in the emerging domains.
Therefore, renewable energy is a key solution to climate change and an enabler of universal energy access and it is also a critical contributor to a number of UN’s 2030 SDGs such as Good health and wellbeing, quality education (SDG 4) and sustainable economic growth (SDG 8) among others.
Patrick Edema, is an Environmental Engineer at AFIEGO
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