Tired of being in the dark, Africa focuses on renewable energy to power the continent

Tired of being in the dark, Africa focuses on renewable energy to power the continent Earth at Night (NASA satellite images)
Alexander Richter 25 Nov 2016

Having been in the dark for all too long, Africa is betting strong on renewable energy to increase access to electricity, help economic development and prosperity on the content, as described by the African Development Bank.

In a recent piece in The Guardian, Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank, describes how “Africa is tired of being int he dark”.

“We lose 5% of our potential GDP every year, and African industries cannot be competitive without access to electricity,” says Mr. Adesina. “I believe that’s why we can’t break away from reliance on exporting our raw materials – new industries will only go to where there’s power.”

As he spoke on the sidelines of the COP22 climate change conference in Marrakech, the African Development Bank highlighted its new initiatives on energy for Afria.

This includes the New Deal on Energy for Africa that will see investments of $12 billion into the energy sector in Africa.

The Bank has launched a New Deal on Energy for Africa, which is hoped will unlock investments of $12 billion into the energy sector in Africa.

The program is built on five inter-related and mutually reinforcing principles: (i) raising aspirations to solve Africa’s energy challenges; ii) establishing a Transformative Partnership on Energy for Africa; (iii) mobilizing domestic and international capital for innovative financing in Africa’s energy sector; (iv) supporting African governments in strengthening energy policy, regulation and sector governance; and (v) increasing African Development Bank’s investments in energy and climate financing.

With still around 640 million Africans, or more than 53%, still with no access to electricity, there is still a lot to do. It is surprising that the countries in the East African Rift, with its great geothermal resources, still is one of hte lest developed countries when it comes to access to electricity. Countries in the region have on average an electricity access rate of less than 25%.


With the efforts announced by the African Development Bank, it hopes to allow an increase of electricity consumption per capita of currently 613 kWh to 941 kWh and thereby nearly doubling GDP.

The bank further has been a major player in setting up the African Renewable Energy Initiative, which aims to develop up to 10 GW of power capacity from renewable energy sources by 2020 and 300 GW by 2030. “This initiative was the major outcome for Africa of the Paris COP21 meeting last year, where G7 countries contributed $10bn towards it,” says Adesina.

Source: The Guardian, African Renewable Energy Initiative, African Development Bank