Why the future of Africa’s energy industry is green

Despite the growing dependence on fossil fuels for power generation, renewable technology initiatives are gaining strength across sub-Saharan countries

Africa  >  Republic of Congo  >  Meandering jungle river in the rainforest of the Congo Basin
GuenterGuni / Getty Images

Access to safe and reliable energy is an essential requisite for economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite being rich in energy resources, the region lacks an efficient and developed energy supply.

Over 620 million people in sub-Saharan Africa are living without access to electricity, a report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) revealed. Even those inhabitants who have access to an energy infrastructure have to endure high prices for supply which doesn’t always meet modern reliability standards.

The same IEA study, which was carried out in cooperation with the African Union, various African governments, the African Development Bank, and experts across all aspects of Africa’s energy sector, found that improving access to reliable and modern energy “can turbo-charge economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa”.

Within this setting, renewable energy presents a suitable solution to the region’s energy woes that is also resilient and sustainable in the long term.

Africa is abundant in renewable sources, including sun, hydro, wind and others, and the increasing cost-competitiveness of wind and solar power are making these technologies a very attractive option for governments looking to achieve a cost-efficient, equitable and quick expansion of electricity access for their growing populations.

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