People holding solar panels

Foreign aid donors and private companies need to ramp up investments in clean energy to break the cycle of poverty and support recovery from COVID-19 in fragile states, urges a new global Call to Action. The Call is led by the Council on State Fragility – co-chaired by former UK Prime Minister David Cameron, former Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and former President of the African Development Bank Donald Kaberuka – and the g7+, an intergovernmental organisation bringing together 20 countries affected by conflict and fragility.

The Council on State Fragility is part of the State Fragility initiative of the International Growth Centre, of which Professor Paul Collier is director, and its secretariat is based at the Blavatnik School of Government and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

David Cameron, co-chair of the Council on State Fragility, said:

“Of the 800 million people in the world without electricity, almost 90% of them live in fragile states. Global action on climate change is vital, and we must not leave those in fragile countries behind. Investing in renewable, distributed, and decentralised energy systems is cost-effective, practical, pro-poor, pro-green, and is particularly helpful in fragile states. As host of this year’s COP26 and G7 Summit, the UK, in particular, can send a strong signal to other donor countries and lead efforts to invest in local, renewable energy sources. This should be a priority for development. To reduce poverty and increase stability – for those in the world’s most vulnerable places, and for us all.”

The Powering up energy investments in fragile states Call to Action launches today (24 February 2021) at an online event including Mr Cameron; Ms Sirleaf; Dr. Francis Mustapha Kai-Kai, Minister of Planning and Economic Development for Sierra Leone and Chair of the g7+; and Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, Prime Minister of Yemen.

The Call to Action says investments in green technologies, such as solar mini-grids, are needed urgently to bring affordable and sustainable sources of electricity to millions living in countries affected by fragility. The Call’s current signatories include Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed, Former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, Former President of Timor-Leste José Ramos-Horta, and 40 other political leaders and organisations.