Top photo with information and photo of solar power system in Africa.
Energy expert Emmanuel Biririza is discussing the solar installations in Ajoung Thok with UNHCR staff.

New report: EmPowering Africa's most vulnerable

Published 21. Aug 2020
"This report shows that change can happen", says Secretary General of NRC, Jan Egeland, about the new report on the opportunities for solar power in Africa by NORCAP and Boston Consulting Group.

Egeland was part of the panel discussion on the new report Empowering Africa’s Most Vulnerable – Access to Solar Energy in Complex Crises that was launched at Litteraturhuset in Oslo September 1st. 

The report by NORCAP and Boston Consulting Group (BCG) shows what actions and actors are needed to accelerate the use of renewable energy among displaced and host communities.

“Our study shows is that it is entirely possible to improve the lives of millions of the world's poorest people with clean energy. The money is there, the technology is there, the expertise is there, and the willingness is there. However, everyone needs to "row together" to move the boat in the right direction." 

— Jason Yeoh, Project Lead, BCG 

90 percent green operations by 2030

One of the key findings of the whitepaper is that a yearly investment of $50-60 million could ensure the transition of about 90 percent of camp operations from diesel generators to solar technologies by 2030. 

It also shows how solar systems could provide access to clean energy for millions of people in Africa. Currently, as much as half the continent's population lack access to energy. 

This has vast implications on people’s health and safety, education, social inequality and economic growth.

Espen Barth Eide, Benedicte Giæver, Odd Arne Sjåtil and Jan Egeland at Litteraturhuset for the launch of the report (photo: Caroline Enge).


There is an immediate need to address the widening energy access gap impacting vulnerable populations, especially displaced people in Sub-Saharan Africa.

It is also vital that humanitarian, development and peace-keeping organisations start their transition to renewable energy as soon as possible. As the world’s leading provider of expertise on humanitarian clean energy, NORCAP is looking to partner with actors to make the shift happen.

“Technical and financial resources are there at the service of the “greening” agents. This leadership in the field is the trigger to a massive change towards SDG7 in the way we generate and use energy across the three sectors (humanitarian, development, peace). Our beneficiaries and the planet should not wait any longer”

— Borja Gómez Rojo, Energy Project Manager at NORCAP

Download the report here


Digital launch

Benedicte Giæver, Executive Director at NORCAP, and Odd Arne Sjåtil, Managing Director and Partner at BCG presented the highlights of the report at the digital launch.


Benedicte Giæver, Executive Director at NORCAP and Odd Arne Sjåtil, Managing Director and Partner at BCG, presented the report's highlights (photo: Guro Beitohaugen)


A panel debate followed led by Stig Arild Pettersen. Representatives from politics, the private sector, UN agencies and NGOs discussed what steps are needed to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goal 7, which calls for ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.


The event was live streamed on Facebook and a part of the ONS energy conference


Here are a few highlights from the panel debate:

“Different actors have different values, approaches, timeframes and budgeting. We need to align around the higher-level shared collective outcomes. We know that only private sector can do certain things, such as creating the technology, innovating, and using competition to establish the best models, but it is only governments that can take things to scale. UN agencies or NGOs could play the role of an honest broker and to hold both governments and private sector accountable. Time is now.” 

— Sibi Lawson-Marriott, Senior Regional Adviser for Climate Adaptation, Resilience, Livelihoods and Gender Equality at World Food Programme 

The panel discussed what steps are needed to fulfil the Sustainable Development Goal 7 (photo: Caroline Enge).


“This report shows that change can happen, and I believe success depends on all stakeholders working together. We need incremental progress and the report provides guidance on how this could happen. We need the right solutions, investments and organisation.” 

— Jan Egeland, Secretary General, Norwegian Refugee Council 

“Norway has a great history of supporting development of grid-tied energy projects with development funding. Part of this funding could be used in areas where refugees are far from the grid.” 

— Mads Hansen, CEO – Kube Energy 

Mads Hansen, CEO of Kube energy together with NORCAP executive director Benedicte Giæver (photo: Caroline Enge).


“If global warming continues unchecked, there will be 3 billion people displaced in the world. By 2070, many will live in areas not suitable for human life. We need to change the way we invest abroad and use our financial mechanisms. We need to move to a green energy for development programme for all regions of the world.” 

— Sigrid Heiberg, Foreign Policy Spokesperson, Green Party 

“Transitioning to solar energy is not just about requiring more money, but also about organisation, support, guarantees, the technology transfer and making things happen. Solar is the future and it will probably be the primary energy source in the world, given that the high levels of technology development are leading to better solutions and lower prices as we speak. In addition, it does not pollute, nor does it require complex and expensive logistics, unlike diesel generators used in humanitarian operations. This provides for an opportunity for vulnerable societies.” 

— Espen Barth Eide, Representative of the Norwegian Labour Party and Member of the Standing Committee on Energy and the Environment 


  • Watch the entire debate here:

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