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Africa Energy Outlook - A Focus on Energy Prospects in Sub Saharan Africa

International Energy Agency

The International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Africa Energy Outlook – a Special Report in the 2014 World Energy Outlook series – offers a most comprehensive analytical study of energy in Africa, specifically in sub-Saharan Africa, the epicentre of the global challenge to overcome energy poverty. More than 620 million people live without access to electricity and nearly 730 million people use hazardous, inefficient forms of cooking, a reliance which affects women and children disproportionately. Meanwhile, those who do have access to modern energy face very high prices for a supply that is both insufficient and unreliable. Overall, the energy sector of sub-Saharan Africa is not yet able to meet the needs and aspirations of its citizens.

But this challenge is surmountable and the benefits of success are immense. This report finds that increasing access to reliable, modern energy can turbo-charge economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa. The region’s existing energy resources are more than sufficient to meet its overall needs, but they are unevenly distributed and under-developed, a fact that speaks strongly towards the benefits of regional energy integration, another key finding of the report.

Sub-Saharan Africa is already home to several major energy producers, including Nigeria, South Africa and Angola, and these are being joined by emerging producers, including Mozambique and Tanzania. For those in a position to reap an economic dividend from natural resources, the report highlights the need to reinvest it locally to yield yet greater gains, in the form of broad-based economic growth. African countries more generally are endowed with abundant renewable energy potential, which they can harness so that, by 2040, renewables provide more than 40% of all power generation capacity in the region, varying in scale from large hydropower dams to mini- and off-grid solutions in more remote areas.

The outlook for providing access to electricity is bitter-sweet: nearly one billion people in sub-Saharan Africa are projected to gain access by 2040 but, because of rapid population growth, 530 million people in the region are projected to remain without it at that date (mainly in rural areas). The urgent need to improve access to modern energy is a theme that the World Energy Outlook has pioneered for more than a decade.

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Category: Energy

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