LIVE FROM MWL UNWRAPPED: Airtel Africa environmental and social lead Michael Koech (pictured) highlighted reliance on fossil fuels in some of its markets alongside high energy costs and power grid reliability as challenges it must overcome in pursuit of green goals.

Discussing its ongoing projects to cut emissions towards the ultimate aim of being net zero across its 14 market operation by 2050, Koech cited different challenges in its various countries related to access to renewable energy sources.

“In countries like Kenya for example, if you are on the national grid then you would almost be certain you can easily achieve your net zero target because most of the energy…is slightly green from hydro and geothermal,” he told Mobile World Live.

However, the executive added in markets such as Chad and Nigeria there is still a high reliance on fossil fuels which is likely a non-renewable source of energy.

Koech also noted the variable costs of power across its footprint, though conceded it was “generally high” currently due to global issues, and stated reliability was a factor.

“For communications to continue you need reliable and quality energy and in most of these countries [where] we operate reliability is a big issue from the national grid, and so it forces you to resort to back up generators, for example.”

On the power issue he indicated each market required “specific solutions and insights” to cut usage and switch to renewables.

The company has already undertaken a number of measures towards cutting its energy use and meeting wider environmental goals, which started with assessing its carbon footprint for its operations and supply chains and setting targets specific to each parts of the business.

Unwrapped is an online event hosted exclusively on Mobile World Live all week, where industry experts and top executives will be discussing the subject of next generation networks. To view the stream and content from the event click here.