Africa is the world’s second most populous continent with 1.2 billion people as of 2016, with the most populous countries being Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Africa, Nigeria having approximately 183.5 million inhabitants and South Africa having approximately 53.5 million inhabitants.
According to the US government’s Power Africa statistics 2013, two out of every three people in sub-Saharan Africa live without electricity. The Directors believe that renewable and clean energy provide an opportunity to solve the electricity predicament.
According to the report, renewable energy can more than quadruple by 2030 to 22%, compared to the 2015 level of about 5%
According to the International Renewable Energy agency (“IRENA”), Africa is undergoing unprecedented and sustained growth.
- In 2010, about 590 million African people (57 per cent. of the population) had no access to electricity, and 700 million (68 per cent. of the population) were living without clean cooking facilities.
- By 2050, the continent will be home to at least 2 billion people – almost twice as many as today – with 40 per cent. living in rural areas.
- At these current energy access trends, in 2030 there will still be approximately 655 million people in Africa (42 per cent. of the population) without access to power, and 866 million (56 per cent. of the population) without clean cooking facilities, depriving the majority of the population of the opportunity to pursue a healthy and productive life.
Basic levels of electricity access such as lighting, communication, healthcare, and education, provide substantial benefits for communities and households
IRENA further states that renewable energy sources are indigenous and therefore enhance countries’ energy self-sufficiency by limiting their dependence on fossil fuel imports. Energy self-sufficiency reduces countries’ exposure to the price and supply volatility of importing energy, and mitigates the negative economic impact of volatility. The soaring cost of importing refined oil already constitutes a significant burden for African countries and can seriously hinder their economic growth.
- In 2010, African countries imported USD 18 billion worth of oil which is more than the entire amount they received in foreign aid. In countries relying on imported fossil fuels for large-scale power generation, power prices are often high. Rural electricity is even more expensive if diesel-based. In addition, oil subsidies in Africa cost an estimated USD 50 billion every year.
- In February 2009, the African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government decided in Addis Ababa to develop renewable energy resources in order to provide clean, reliable, affordable and environmentally-friendly energy.
- African governments reaffirmed their political will in 2010, with the Maputo Declaration, which established the Conference of Energy Ministers of Africa.
- In 2011, 46 African countries with the participation of 25 African energy ministers adopted the Abu Dhabi Communiqué on Renewable Energy for Accelerating Africa’s Development, which called for the increased utilisation of Africa’s renewable energy resources to accelerate development.
Similarly, various subsidiary bodies of the African Union have committed to specific strategies and action plans for accelerating the deployment of renewable energy, such as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa.
IRENA projects that the share of renewables in Africa can increase:
Total installed renewable capacity would grow from 28 gigawatts in 2010, to around 800 gigawatts by 2050: