From Cape to Cairo: The Discussion on Africa’s Energy Transition Must Start in Africa

Africa’s renewable energy sector has gradually expanded over the past decade, driven by international oil company divestment from hydrocarbons and global calls to scale-up clean energy developments in order to mitigate climate change impacts. In response to global accords such as the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, many African governments have taken a proactive approach to driving renewable energy developments – with revised energy regulation and supportive policies. However, the continent continues to face challenges hindering effective growth within the sector.

Primarily, one of the biggest challenges concerns the availability of adequate finance. Despite the costs of renewable energy technologies declining over recent years, significant up-front capital is still required. International markets such as the United Kingdom have been concerted efforts to finance Africa’s energy transition, with commitments such as British International Investment’s plan to invest GBP 1.5-2 billion per year from 2022-2026; the government’s plan to invest $100 million in South African renewable projects; and an established investment pipeline of $13 billion from the UK in Africa. While these efforts have been noted, the implementation and realization of these funds has been disappointing, preventing the effective development of Africa’s renewable sector.