Press Release

Date: Oct. 21, 2010

Access to Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa Is Theme of Sixth Annual ASADI Conference

The sixth annual conference of the African Science Academy Development Initiative (ASADI) will be hosted by the Academy of Science of South Africa on Nov. 8-10 in Somerset West, South Africa. The conference will focus on strategies for improving access to energy in sub-Saharan Africa and encouraging the use of clean and affordable forms of energy. More than 500 million people in sub-Saharan Africa ' greater than 70 percent of the population ' lack electricity, and about 600 million still rely on traditional biomass fuel for cooking.

A new report on this topic, Turning Science On: Improving Access to Energy in Sub-Saharan Africa, will be released at the conference by the science academies participating in ASADI. The report assesses the relationship between access to energy and human development, including the correlation between energy access and achievement of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals. Its key messages outline how policymakers can take advantage of both existing and future scientific solutions to expand energy access across the continent.

Policymakers from ministries and parliaments across Africa will join renowned energy experts and officials of several African science academies at the conference. An agenda is available at The conference will be held at the Lord Charles Hotel, Somerset West, South Africa. The opening ceremony begins on Monday, Nov. 8, at 5 p.m. SAST. Turning Science On will be released and discussed at 7 p.m. The conference continues on Tuesday, Nov. 9, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Wednesday, Nov. 10, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m., after which attendees will make site visits to local energy projects.

Reporters who wish to attend the conference, obtain a copy of the report, or interview participants should contact Patsy Scholtz, Academy of Science of South Africa,, +27 12 349 6618/+27 82 550 0757 (mobile); or William Kearney, U.S. National Academy of Sciences, wkearney@nas.edua>, tel. +1 202 334 2144/+1 202 450 9166 (mobile).

ASADI is a multiyear, collaborative effort among the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the national science academies of Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, and Uganda, as well as the regional African Academy of Sciences. The goal of the initiative is to strengthen the capacity of the African science academies to provide evidence-based advice to better inform policymaking and public discourse.

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The African Science Academy Development Initiative is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
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