The African region’s energy infrastructure has struggled to keep pace with rapidly growing populations, creating a major obstacle to the region’s growing economies that can best be overcome by the strong deployment of energy efficiency and renewable technologies, according to a new IEA report. .
Countries in the region have already shown that they can find new solutions to increase access to electricity for underserved populations and have the potential for greater exploitation of wind and solar energy. But achieving these goals requires supportive policies, better governance frameworks, regional cooperation and international financial assistance, according to a new IEA report. Clean Energy Transitions in the African Regionpresented today at a conference in Kampala, Uganda.
Energy consumption in the Horn of Africa – defined in the report as Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda – has grown by 3% annually over the past decade, but half citizens still cannot reach. electricity and only one in six people cook with modern fuels. The eight countries represent almost a quarter of sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP, yet their total power is less than that of Belgium and the Netherlands combined – but with 10 times the population.
“The African continent is home to one of the fastest growing economies in the world, but its potential is at risk if its electricity infrastructure cannot keep pace,” said Mary Burce Warlick, Deputy Director of the IEA. “The IEA is ready to provide expertise and policy advice to African countries to develop clean, reliable and affordable energy systems that will benefit all their people. These efforts will depend on regional cooperation and international assistance. “
Ms Warlick is delivering keynote addresses at the Kampala conference alongside Uganda’s Minister of Energy and Mineral Development Ruth Nankabirwa and Netherlands Deputy Minister for International Cooperation Kitty Van Der Heijden. All eight countries in the region have sent representatives from their energy ministries, and other regional stakeholders are also in attendance.
Despite being one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to the impacts of climate change, the Greater Horn of Africa has the lowest per capita emissions. In 2020, the region emitted about the same amount of carbon dioxide as New York City.
Bioenergy – which often consists of purchased wood, coal and agricultural waste – currently meets 80% of Africa’s energy demand. In electricity, the region has one of the world’s most sustainable systems, with more than 85% of production coming from renewables – mostly in the form of large power projects in Ethiopia, Sudan and Kenya. But the region has huge, underutilized potential for solar, wind and geothermal energy.
Many of the region’s smaller countries, historically dependent on energy exports, are installing their first large-scale renewable projects, such as the Juba solar PV farm in South Sudan or the Ghoubet Wind farm in Djibouti.
Today, 140 million people in the African continent do not have access to electricity – more than the population of Mexico. The situation has improved since 2010, with an average of 8 million people gaining access each year. Kenya and Ethiopia are leading the way, often thanks to new off-grid solutions: these two countries together account for 30% of solar systems and solar equipment sales worldwide by 2021. Expansion. Somalia, a country without a national grid, has developed a viable off-grid market, and Eritrea has achieved access to all urban areas. However, progress in other countries has stalled since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the region is currently facing high fuel import bills due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In addition to accelerating the release of renewables, the report says that the Horn’s energy security and access will benefit from improvements in the efficiency of buildings, cooking, cooling and electrical equipment, as well as greater coordination of two- and three-wheeled electricity.
The region needs to improve its investment climate and create a pipeline of marketable projects to attract the foreign investment necessary to achieve global energy access and support economic development. Heavy bureaucracy, lack of clear strategy and limited technical expertise all contribute to the level of risk perceived by investors. Attracting more energy investment requires better enforcement of limited funding with a public consensus. New sources of finance specific to clean energy could help. These include climate finance, carbon credits, renewable energy certificates, and sustainable or offshore bonds, which can help develop capital markets.