Editor’s Note: March 27, 2019
Africa is not ready for the renewable energy revolution
The global shift from carbon intensive to renewable, sustainable energy is slowing down. This is according to the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Fostering Effective Energy Transition report.
This ranks the ‘readiness for energy transition’ of 115 countries globally, benchmarking their energy systems according to security and access, economic development and growth, and environmental sustainability.
While renewables are generally becoming a bigger part of the energy mix, progress is falling short of meeting emission reduction goals.
It’s a ‘reality check’, the report says.
No more so than for Africa, the world’s least prepared region. While renewable energy use is increasing, countries on the continent cluster towards the bottom of the index. This includes South Africa and Nigeria, Africa’s biggest energy consumers, ranked 114 and 109 respectively.
High electricity costs, poor institutional frameworks and underdeveloped infrastructure are among the factors contributing to the poor scores.
The findings illustrate the difficulty of shifting from old to new energy sources, and how far off Africa is. It suggests that despite ample rhetoric, managing the transition to sustainable energy is not a high priority for governments.
Unsurprising given that 600m Africans have no access to power at all, and the myriad other development challenges the continent faces.
Yet given how vulnerable Africa is to climate change, it ought to be.
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