, DAVOS, Jan 25 – Africa is already being priced out of access to fossil fuel by rising oil costs and has no option but to turn to alternative energy, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said on Wednesday.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the leader of sub-Saharan Africa’s second most populous nation said the high cost of traditional energy could ultimately benefit the developing world by forcing the pace of change.
“Most Africans will be priced out of modern energy, therefore it is crucial (to have) access to biofuels, solar power,” said Meles.
“I do not know how it looks in developed countries but in Africa we think fossil fuels already are being rationed… Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise, forcing us to look for alternative supplies.”
Meles said a new hydro-electric rail project in his Horn of African nation was the kind of idea that would prevail in future as sustainable development was the only viable model.
“In my view Africa has no option but to go through the green path to development,” he added. “We have to adjust no matter what happens with the climate change negotiations.”
Meles was speaking on the day Microsoft founder Bill Gates issued an annual survey which highlighted the impact of rising populations, with Ethiopia facing a 73 percent jump in its population by 2050 to 147 million.