Feature Reports

Africas's Energy Challenges

Africas's Energy Challenges
Energy will fuel Africa's development. ©Thinkstock

Two out of three Africans do not have access to modern, reliable energy sources. The continent's energy needs are therefore considerable, especially given the fact that the population is expected to double by 2050. Many obstacles are preventing Africa from effectively leveraging the potential of its extensive fossil fuel and renewable energy resources, a situation that may have been made worse by declining global raw material prices, slower global growth and, in some countries, local governance issues. In other respects, however, the current environment is favorable. The successful conclusion of the Paris Climate Summit in December 2015 has created wide support to develop low-carbon energy sources. As a result, Africa may be able to transition directly to a sustainable energy future, thus bypassing the traditional path followed by the industrialized world. The use of decentralized solar systems could bring about a genuine energy revolution.

L'Afrique le continent de demain

Experts unanimously agree that after years of fairly slow development Africa is now undergoing rapid growth. The pundits, however, are divided into two categories: the Afro-optimists, who believe that Africa is set to become the continent of the future, and the Afro-pessimists, who believe that poverty-related tensions will only get worse. But thanks to Africa's bright energy prospects, particularly in the field of solar electrification, the scales could tip in favor of the optimists. A few key issues are described below.

Read more
Un potentiel énergétique

Africa's energy needs are expected to increase at a fast past, driven by economic growth of around 5%, a population that is rising faster than the rest of the world and rampant urbanization. A combination of poverty, certain governance-related issues and the risk of above average global warmingGlobal warming, also called planetary warming or climate change... are impeding the development of Africa's energy resources, which are considerable. Africa has been extracting and producing oil for decades. Its natural gas reserves have begun to be developed. Its hydroelectric resources are underutilized, and its solar, wind and geothermalDescribes the technology used to tap subsurface heat to produce energy... potential is tremendous. 

Read more
L'électrification

Sub-Saharan Africa uses less electricityForm of energy resulting from the movement of charged particles (electrons) through a conductor... than Spain. A tea kettle boiled twice a day by a family in Britain uses five times as much electricity as a Malian consumes in one year. And it would take a Tanzanian eight years to use as much electricity as an American consumes in one month. The electrification of Africa has become a matter of urgency.

Read more