On 6 July, the Climate convened a virtual parliamentary roundtable on gender and energy access, featuring Abdou Ndour, South Antenna Coordinator for Enda Energie. Based in Dakar, this organisation works on access to energy, gender and energy, and climate change issues.
Access to energy is a key driver of economic activity and social development, but nearly 760 million people around the world still live without access to electricity. In the domestic sphere, women play a major role in carrying out household tasks, and therefore suffer more from lack of access to energy services or clean water. In some countries, such as Senegal, more than 70% of the rural workforce are women, who face many difficulties in their daily work. Our expert stressed that access to electricity is an essential element to facilitate daily tasks, for example in the processing of cereals.
Abdou Ndour stressed the need to reduce the cost of electricity for consumers, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In many developing African countries, local businesses are being overcharged and struggle to pay for their electricity bills. For SMEs, especially those run by women, to grow and to consolidate, to become profitable and to create wealth, it is essential that they have access to reliable and affordable energy services. In many countries, however, electricity is not owned by governments and the price of electricity is set by the market. To promote renewable energy production while lowering costs, parliamentarians can encourage their governments to waive taxes on solar panels and batteries.
The parliamentarians emphasized the importance of empowering women, of training them professionally, helping them unlock access to finance and connecting them to other businesses, so that they can take leadership roles in the energy industry. Having women involved in the energy private sector and in public entities such as energy ministries and government agencies, can help change the current dynamic and draw attention to gender issues.