Electricity is not the only energy concern on the continent. Four out of five people in Sub-Saharan Africa still cook with wood and biomass, which, when burned, produce harmful smoke. Clean cooking solutions could mean more children in the classroom, rather than out collecting firewood, and more women with the time to find work or start a business, which could provide a route to financial independence. The use of clean cooking fuels also reduces greenhouse-gas emissions.
Investments in resilient and efficient power grids will be critical to meeting the growing energy needs of densely populated urban centers and growing industries. At the same time, off-grid systems powered by solar and batteries have already revolutionized the way remote towns gain access to electricity. Both centralized and decentralized power systems will be important for expanding electricity access to all Africans.