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In the wake of COP26, at the Africa Energy Forum (AEF) 2021, heavy focus was placed on the role of renewables in the ongoing quest to end energy poverty on the continent
In the opening sessions speakers commented on the impressive decarbonisation efforts being made across Africa with projects in South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, Ghana and more establishing and building investor confidence in green energy on the continent. Africa’s immense resources and falling costs of renewables is driving the growth of this energy resource and encouraged stakeholders on the continent to embrace innovation as the faster it does so, the faster it will reach net zero while also addressing energy poverty. One prominent speaker even noted, “If Africa leads the way, the rest of the world will follow.”
While African countries do not contribute much to the current climate crises, they are often the hardest hit and negatively affected by the impacts of climate change. While the continent certainly has its issues with falling GDP and the increasing number of people without access to electricity there are many causes for optimism. For instance, the new climate pact concluded at COP26 is a step forward in the fight against climate change with trillions of dollars pledged to be invested inline with the climate imperatives and that falling solar costs means renewables is one of the cheapest sources of energy around. To continue this momentum, collaboration and innovation particularly in the private sector was singled out as being essential.
It was also suggested that the developed world has a duty to support Africa in achieving a successful and fair energy transition but that the continent must not follow in these countries footsteps as to do so would worsen the climate crises.