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"Africa's Schoolchildren Should Not Have to Study by Candlelight" says African-U.S. NGO Coalition - Gathering of Nairobi Schoolchildren Dramatizes Need for Affordable Energy

Nov. 20, 2006

by David Ridenour
National Center for Public Policy Research

With only about ten percent of sub-Saharan Africa able to enjoy the enormous benefits of electricity, dozens of schoolchildren from the Kariobangi South Primary School in Nairobi participated this morning in a candlelight ceremony to dramatize the millions of children forced to do their homework by candlelight. (To see photos of the event go to: www.nationalcenter.org/ClimateChangeChildren.html)

"If we want our African children to be able to have hope for the future, they must have electricity, especially in the rural areas where there is much need," said Rosemary Segero, a native Kenyan who is president of the African International Foundation.

The event was held at the All Africa Conference of Churches as part of the U.N.'s COP-12 conference on climate change. The NGOs are concerned that developing nations, which already suffer from immense poverty and energy deprivation, will eventually bear the burden of Kyoto-style controls if a worldwide reduction in emissions is to be achieved.

"It is unconscionable for wealthy, developed countries to deny the benefits of affordable electricity to the developing world," said David Rothbard, president of the Washington, D.C. based Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT). "When citizens of nations like Malawi only have five percent of their country electrified, the nations of the world must make reliable, affordable electricity a top priority."

David Ridenour, vice president of The National Center for Public Policy Research, explained why the Kyoto Protocol is destined to be carried on the backs of the poor: "Carbon dioxide emissions are necessary for industrial, medical and technological advancement. Once developing nations are brought into the Kyoto compact, the European Union will continue to use its wealth to purchase more and more emissions credits. This will allow Europeans to continue to live the lifestyles to which they are accustomed while condemning the developing world to a future of hardship and poverty."

CFACT advisor Pastor Abdul Sesay, a native of Sierra Leone, summed up the sentiment, saying: "People in Africa and developing nations deserve the opportunity to create better, healthier lives for themselves and future generations. Sadly, it seems Kyoto Protocol supporters are willing to support a treaty that would deny them a basic necessity like affordable electricity. How many more must go hungry and die before Western leaders understand that this is not a political game?"

The African International Foundation advocates educational opportunities for youth as a means of saving children from crime, violence and sex trafficking. The National Center for Public Policy Research is a non-partisan, non-profit educational foundation based in Washington, DC and founded in 1982; CFACT is a non-profit public interest organization that promotes market-based and technological solutions to issues relating to environment and development.



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