Bill Ritter Jr. speaking during Earth Day celebrations in Colorado Africa Agenda | Africa Agenda

The statistics about the number of people around the world who lack access to basic electricity is astounding. That number stands at around 1.3 billion people and the vast majority of these people, about 95 percent, are in sub-Saharan Africa or developing Asia.

That is, according to representatives of Eagle Energy, Elephant Energy, PowerMundo and Nokero; all clean energy companies based in Colorado. These companies have a friend in former Colorado governor, Bill Ritter, whom they invited to be the guest speaker at Colorado Lights the Earth on Earth Day, April 19.

While he has an affinity for clean energy, Ritter also has a special bond with the African community in Colorado. For one thing, the community cheered when he announced in 2006 that he would be running for governor.

They cheered because they saw in Ritter someone who could become a partner of the community, with Ritter having spent about three years as a missionary for the Catholic Church in Zambia. Fundraisers were organized by the community to support his bid for the governor’s office. Ritter went on to serve as governor of Colorado from 2007 to 2011.

After he decided not to run for a second term, he took a job as director of the Center for New Energy Economy at Colorado State University.

Reflecting on his experiences with energy deficiencies in Zambia and Namibia at the time he said:

‘The availability of electricity or even just to light, to study at night can mean the difference between a kid being able to change their status-quo in life,” Ritter said.

“We can look at the need, understand the need and develop a product.”

Today, the situation in these African countries is much different, thanks to the work of clean and environmentally friendly energy companies based in Colorado.

Listen to Bill Ritter here:



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