Nkiruka Avila and Professor Daniel M. Kammen presented “The Energy Challenge in Sub-Saharan Africa” at the first Global Sustainability Forum of the year on Monday.

“Sub-saharan Africa is the area with the most energy potential on the whole continent,” Avila said. “It’s a very ironic story that for decades this area has remained dark despite their energy potential.”

Together with OXFAM, Avila and Kammen released a report on Tuesday concerning the role for renewable energy sources versus fossil fuels and the role for centralized versus distributed energy systems in addressing energy poverty. According to the report, about 630 million people live without  access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa.

Avila and Kammen emphasized that solar energy is the most cost effective electricity option for sub-Saharan countries. Kammen encouraged future policy makers in the audience to consider focusing on energy policy in this regard. "The integration of power and electricity in mixtures which make sense is an area in which [policy makers] are really behind," Kammen said.