The Launch of Lights Power Action: Electrifying Africa

Dear Friends,

Greetings from the secretariat of the Africa Progress Panel.

Welcome to our second newsletter of 2017.

African leaders must to do what it takes to enhance and scale up grid power supply while accommodating renewable energy. That’s the core message of the Africa Progress Panel’s latest report Lights Power Action: Electrifying Africa, which was launched by Kofi Annan on 13 March at the African Development Bank headquarters in Abidjan.

A massive increase in on-grid, mini-grid and off-grid power supply investments is essential if Africa’s energy crisis is to be solved more quickly. Major enhancements to the grid are clearly needed, and fast, to scale up energy generation and transmission. That said, the 620 million Africans who still lack access to electricity shouldn’t have to simply wait any longer for the roll out of national grid connections when an increasing and diverse range of off-grid solutions now exist, which could provide them with light and power sooner. Those who are already connected to the grid, but facing regular power cuts could make use of these options as well.

The challenge is not only financial and technical, however, it is also deeply political. As the APP has consistently emphasised in previous reports, alongside greater investment, there is need for better governance, in this case steps to tackle corruption within the power sector to improve management and prevent the loss of Africa’s existing resources.

Our new report is an in-depth follow up to the Africa Progress Report 2015 People Power Planet: seizing Africa’s Energy and Climate Opportunities, published in June 2015, which, explored the links between energy, climate and development in Africa.

Lights Power Action: Electrifying Africa seeks to build on the political momentum that has been generated since 2015 to increase energy access in Africa.

This edition of the newsletter features the report launch and related multimedia and social media output we’ve produced to support our advocacy on the energy issues. One of my personal favourites is the Battabox edition from the streets of Lagos recorded by our intern Ebun.

We have been most encouraged by the positive response to the report and hope necessary action will be taken in the areas identified in the Lights Power Action policy insights and recommendations soon.

Warmest regards,
Max Bankole Jarrett

APP Media Highlights

Opinion – Power to the people: Electrify Africa now: Kofi Annan, Chair of the Africa Progress Panel, emphasizes how “Africa’s energy needs are not only huge, but they are also urgent” in this opinion editorial that was featured on

“Kofi Annan’s solar plan for Africa”.  BBC World Service radio interview on the launch of Lights Power Action: Electrifying Africa with Rachel Kyte, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sustainable Energy for All.

Strive Masiyiwa is named as one of the top 50 global leaders by Fortune magazine.

Diamond industry to award Graça Machel for outstanding leadership. Mrs Machel will receive the Global Humanitarian Award for her transformative leadership to empower women in Africa and her pivotal work with the United Nations.

APP Director-in-charge Max Bankole Jarrett discusses Lights Power Action: Electrifying Africa in interviews with Thomson Reuters Foundation News and This is Africa.


Lights Power Action: Electrifying Africa launch event.  Watch the video from the 13 March launch event featuring remarks from Kofi Annan and AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina, and presentations by Max Bankole Jarrett and Amadou Hott, AfDB Vice-President of Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.


Lights Power Action: Electrifying Africa press conference.  Kofi Annan and AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina respond to questions from reporters following the launch of APP’s newest report.



CNBC Africa Interview: Electrifying Africa.  Kofi Annan discusses the progress and shortcomings in the drive to address Africa’s electricity crisis with CNBC Africa’s Wole Famurew.



How Does The Average Nigerian Survive Without Electricity?  Our intern Ebun hits the streets of Lagos with Battabox to find out how the lack of electricity affects Nigerians.



Facebook Live: Following the launch of the report, the APP secretariat held a Facebook Live session to respond to questions from our Facebook followers about African energy related issues.




People Power Podcast Series

Join Max Bankole Jarrett, the APP’s Director-in-charge and former presenter of the BBC’s award winning Network Africa programme, as he explores the opportunities and potential of energy in Africa through interviews with a dynamic cross section of experts from around the globe.


Power People Episodes:

Jasandra Nyker: CEO of BioTherm Energy, a renewable energy investment and project development platform focused on sub‐Saharan Africa.

Yacob Mulugetta: Professor of Energy and Development Policy, and director of the MPA programme at the Department of Science, Technology, Engineering & Public Policy at University College London.

Caroline Kende-Robb: Former Africa Progress Panel Executive Director.