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17 December 2021

Africa prioritises renewables but keeps fossil fuels in the mix

Africa has the world's smallest greenhouse gas emissions footprint, but its decarbonisation is a litmus test for global energy transition efforts, says DLA Piper.

By Energy Monitor Staff

Renewables are a priority for most African governments, but fossil fuels remain a key part of the continent’s energy mix, finds a report by DLA Piper, a global law firm. DLA Piper Africa’s lawyers analysed 21 jurisdictions across the continent within a 2030 horizon.

An employee of the Benban Solar Park in southern Egypt, February 2020. (Photo by Ute Grabowsky/Photothek via Getty Images)

Energy mixes across Africa range from more than 90% gas in Tunisia to more than 90% hydropower in Ethiopia. The African energy transition is diverse and so are the challenges facing it. A common denominator, however, is most of the countries surveyed have legislative or investment programmes in place for renewables, finds the report.

Scaling up renewables can help boost access to electricity, generate new jobs and meet rising energy demand – which is expected to double across the continent by 2040 – DLA Piper reports.

Yet fossil fuels are also expected to remain a key part of Africa’s energy mix. Countries such as Nigeria continue to secure investment in new oil and gas exploration. Others like Algeria are expected to reach peak oil between 2035 and 2040. The main challenges to scaling up renewables include gaps in technical expertise, difficulty in accessing finance and long-term capital, high interest rates and insufficient transmission infrastructure and grid connections – and therefore inadequate integration of renewables – says the report.

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