Africa Network

Shaping the future of energy in Africa

Africa Network

The Africa regional network currently spans from Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt in the North to Namibia and Kingdom of Eswatini in the South, including many Central African countries. While the continent is endowed with untapped human capital and significant conventional and renewable energy resources, an estimated 600 million people still lack access to electricity.

National Member Committees are interested in engaging in activities and events that provide opportunity to collaborate cross-border to establish dialogue, foster an exchange of impartial views and best practice, and identify common areas of research and action on issues such as energy access and affordability, energy efficiency, regional integration and interconnectivity, cross-border and trans-continental power transmission network, and tapping the entrepreneurial potential of grassroots innovation.

To facilitate these activities, the African regional network is developing working level relationships with African Union Commission (AUC), COMESA, ECOWAS, African Energy Commission (AFREC), and Association of Power Utilities of Africa (APUA).  

Regional action priorities that support the Council’s mission and humanising energy vision are agreed on an annual basis by national Member Committees in the framework of a Regional Action Plan.

Each month, the African regional network meets to discuss matters of mutual interest, drive collective activities, and keep each other updated on relevant developments and events. In addition, throughout the year regionally targeted workshops are being organised to advance discussions in the context of our global insights and innovation tools.

As part of World Energy Week LIVE 2021, a conversation focusing on Capacity building for a net-zero Africa was convened. While many African countries who signed the Paris Agreement have set out on an ambitious plan to reduce their carbon emissions to zero by 2050, many pledges and efforts by governments to tackle the causes of global warming, GHG emissions are still growing drastically. Participants explored what African countries can do to accelerate the implementation of those ambitious target and how they can prepare their populations and workforces to face some of the unavoidable changes and empower them to be enablers of a successful transition.

Furthermore, countries like Kenya and Nigeria are working to launch their own World Energy Academies aimed at advancing in capacity building and energy literacy in the region.

Some countries in the region have developed national Future Energy Leaders Programmes. These work closely with national Member Committees and support activities at the national and regional level

Energy in Africa

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REGIONAL OVERVIEW & CONTEXT

Africa has the highest levels of global energy poverty that has been exacerbated by the pandemic and the resultant slowdown of economic activities. This long-standing issue has been re-exposed and prompted a renewed desire to tackle it with existing and additional solutions that empower local communities with the most appropriate services. In addition to the existing investment in decentralised systems, African countries see new possibilities through energy storage to increase energy access while also creating localised manufacturing (e.g. Kenya testing investor interest in local battery manufacturing). 

In keeping with all regions, economic trends have become the most critical uncertainty across Africa with the pandemic causing significant disruption. Falling energy demand has particularly hit those countries in the region that are reliant upon hydrocarbon exports. This, combined with concerns from other countries, disrupted by global supply chains has raised energy supply to a critical uncertainty. Concerns about economic trends and energy supply also combine to reinforce the pre-existing regional issue of affordability as a critical uncertainty

CRITICAL UNCERTAINTIES & ACTION PRIORITIES

The emerging findings for the Action Priorities and Critical Uncertainties were tested with the Council’s African energy community during a digital workshop in February 2021. The workshop supported the emerging findings while drawing out three overarching themes to summarise the region’s current energy landscape:

1. The pandemic’s re-exposure of unevenness has increased the motivation to address it

Africa has the highest levels of global energy poverty that has been exacerbated by the pandemic and the resultant slowdown of economic activities. This long-standing issue has been re-exposed and prompted a renewed desire to tackle it with existing and additional solutions that empower local communities with the most appropriate services. In addition to the existing investment in decentralised systems, African countries see new possibilities through energy storage to increase energy access while also creating localised manufacturing (e.g. Kenya testing investor interest in local battery manufacturing).

2. Boosting resilience through developing local capabilities and regional trade

The pandemic’s travel restrictions limited the availability of foreign consultants/contractors , which was partially mitigated by existing requirement for foreign companies to operate with local partners. The experience has reinforced the ambition to build local capacity and expertise to increase resilience. At the same time, Africa’s oil and gas exporters have started to look to replace lost exports with local markets to boost regional resilience; for example, the Trans-Sahara Gas Pipeline Project between Nigeria and Algeria has renewed political attention to integrate supply within Africa.

3. Prioritising affordability alongside willingness to pay

The African Union’s “Agenda 2063” outlines a vision for a just energy transition that will require better collaboration and coordination between countries and across business, government and civil society with strong enabling regulatory systems. Innovative solutions such as pay-as-you-go schemes for decentralised systems enabling access to energy services could have greater impact by focusing on the demand perspective rather than supply. This means focusing more on the end consumers to address their ability and willingness to pay for new services to be a “bottom-up pull” rather than a “top-down push”. Africa’s success with mobile money provides unique opportunities to make significant progress if communities can be successfully engaged and empowered.

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Dr Elham Mahmoud Ibrahim

Dr Elham Mahmoud Ibrahim

Vice Chair
Africa Network

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Latsoucabé Fall

Latsoucabé Fall

Regional Manager
Africa Network

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