Lemonde- Africa to play vital role in leading global energy transition
With increasing electrification, demographic growth and strategic mineral reserves, the continent is at the heart of climate change response challenges.
Sub-Saharan Africa’s consumption of electricity barely exceeds that of Spain, and yet it is on the continent that a major battle against climate disruptions is playing out. With just a few weeks left before the 25th United Nations Climate Conference (COP25), the International Energy Agency (IAE) released Friday 8 November, a report which African negotiators would do well to take with them on the trip to Madrid. They will find strong arguments in the report to make their voices heard alongside countries with large emissions of greenhouse gases. “How Africa meets its energy needs is crucial for the continent’s future” say the authors at the outset of the 300-page second edition of Africa’s Economic Outlook.
The assertion is supported by a demographic reality: one out of two people born worldwide are set to be in Africa and the continent’s population will exceed those of China and India by 2025 with unparalleled urbanization rates. This demographic boom is fueling demand for electrical power, transportation, industry... which is already “twice as fast” as in other parts of the developing world. Half of Africa’s population still lacks access to electricity and close to two-thirds depend on charcoal for cooking, to the detriment of forests and the biodiversity they shelter.