TAMALE, Ghana, (Xinhua) --
A United Nations (UN) official has stressed that
China’s investment in infrastructure across Africa is key to
achieving the continent’s development aspirations.
UN Resident Coordinator for China told Xinhua here late Saturday
that China’s investment in Africa’s energy sector, especially
through renewable energy will go a long way to support the
continent to create jobs on a large scale.
It is estimated that
in Africa 600 million people don’t have electricity.
“And that has
affected of course many things. It makes it very hard to run
business if you don’t have reliable source of electricity. It
makes it very hard to run clinics and hospitals; it makes it
very hard for children to get educated and to get water. In
terms of basic human needs, all of them nowadays depend to some
extent on electrification,” Rosellini argued.
He therefore lauded
China for assisting various African countries in developing
their renewable energy capacities, stressing that besides its
role in promoting the real sector of the economies of Africa,
electric energy is also necessary for developing and promoting
basic human needs.
official also lauded China for supporting Ghana with expertise
in developing its Renewable Energy Master Plan, calling for such
initiatives across the continent.
“We often think of
electrification in terms of city lights or in terms of industry,
but it actually cuts across everything that we do in our modern
life in terms of looking after children, educating the children,
healthcare, transportation agriculture, industry,
manufacturing,” he pointed out.
“So it is really
critical if Africa is going to move ahead in terms of creating
jobs on a large scale... the backdrop of that has to be access
to electricity, access to energy and renewable energy,” he said.
The official who is
also the United Nations’ Development Programme (UNDP) Country
Representative for China was in Ghana on an assessment tour of a
trilateral irrigation project being financed by Denmark and
China in Ghana, with support from UNDP.
The project supports
poor smallholder farmers in Tamaligu, a suburb of Tamale, about
753 km north of the capital Accra with solar irrigation pumps
for all-year-round crop production, as the high cost of diesel
pumps and grid powered irrigation systems takes these facilities
beyond the reach of the average farmer.
In replicating such
programmes and projects across the continent, the official
believes they need to be tested to see those that work in each
community and those not feasible. “And then you can move ahead
in terms of replicating that in more and more communities,” he
The official added
that China’s Belt and Road initiative is intended to support
countries to develop economic and social infrastructure. A
global summit on Belt and Road initiative is also scheduled in
May in Chinese capital Beijing.
“I think it will
give a very important level of visibility to the initiative and
it will give a platform for Belt and Road as a multilateral
worldwide initiative. I think it will highlight some of the
important programs and projects that are going to be launched,”
He also pledged
UNDP’s support for China’s initiatives in Africa, especially
those programmes that are targeted at helping African countries
achieve their Sustainable Development Goals.