Laura Ling is an amazing journalist who has partnered with Discovery Digital Networks and ONE.org to bring awareness to stories and issues from across the globe include this most recent story of the energy crisis happening in Africa. Interestingly enough, with access to cell phones, the middle class has exploded on the continent, but the ability to do simple things like charge a cell phone (much less, have consistent lighting in clinics, businesses or even homes) continue to be a struggle as a result of blackouts, shortages and a reliance on “dirty forms of energy.” 7 out of 10 citizens in sub-Saharan Africa still do not have access to electricity. This means expectant mothers, business owners, students and everyone in between are doing their best to move forward and continue developing thriving communities without being able to simply turn on a light.
I will not let the darkness hold me back
-Hussein Mwende, student
Even with the hardship of energy poverty, African citizens continue to push the limits in just about every category. Ling sat down with Mercy Kitomari, owner of Nelwa’s Gelato Shop, one of the very few gelato shops in Tanzania, to discuss the difficulties associated with running a business that depends on freezers in a country where electricity is unreliable. Kitomari shared the struggle of growing a business (every time freezers go out, it requires hiring a generator, a crane and the resources to power the generator) and the desire to contribute to the cultural landscape of Tanzania (how easy it is to forget the tremendous luxury of access to a simple treat like gelato), but believes the challenge is entirely worth it.
It has been super challenging…
but every day there’s progress.
-Mercy Kitomari, Tanzanian Entrpreneur
As Africa continues to grow and delve into solutions for renewable resources, developed nations will have a lot to learn from the process. How will an exploding population race into the future? We will watch and see. And we will surely all be changed by the expansion of access to basic resources like energy to the 600 million citizens currently living without it in sub-Saharan African.
For more news about energy poverty, Africa and how you can help make the world a better, brighter place, visit ONE.org!