Can renewables ease Africa’s energy access crisis?

(The Third Pole, 22 Apr 2024) Three journalists take a look at the obstacles – and benefits – to attaining universal energy access in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Across Sub-Saharan Africa, countries are struggling to achieve universal energy access and clean-energy transitions. More than 600 million Africans cannot access electricity, and a lack of reliable energy continues to hurt socio-economic development in the region.

With just six years to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 7 of “access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all”, addressing this particular energy crisis could not be more urgent.

The energy situation across the continent is broadly characterised by weak infrastructure, underfunding, low access to reliable and clean energy, and unequal access, with supply largely focused on urban areas. In many countries, insufficient power generation is a major drag on development goals, the functioning of basic public services, and quality of life. Many sectors and daily activities are limited to daytime operating hours, including education. Healthcare services are severely impacted.

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The Third Pole, 22 Apr 2024: Can renewables ease Africa’s energy access crisis?