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Progress in energy transition but challenges remain

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There has been progress in Africa’s energy transition, but challenges remain. Image credit: Leon Louw for Whyafrica

Progress in energy transition, but challenges remain

 According to the latest update from the World Economic Forum’s Energy Transition Index (ETI), the world, including Africa, is steadily progressing along the energy transition pathway.

While the momentum gained thus far is promising, the urgency for transformative interventions to mitigate climate change and its impact on Africa has mushroomed.

The world has faced the immense challenge of fluctuating economies transpiring not only from a global pandemic but several humanitarian crises including the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Such obstacles have consequently led to a volatile energy market.

Considering this, energy leaders are set to debate what this means for the continent by exchanging their ideas and knowledge at the upcoming Africa Energy Indaba 2023. During the conference, stakeholders from across Africa’s leading and emerging economies will showcase a range of business and investment opportunities, while providing a glimpse into the future of a sustainable Africa powered by renewable energy.

Ahead of the seminar, various key insights follow on the global energy transition landscape to empower Africa’s industries to navigate this progression during such challenging times:

Africa’s urgent demand for change is outpacing its energy transition

While the global average score on the ETI has progressively improved over the past decade, Africa’s energy prices remain higher than ever. Affordability, security, and sustainability remain the top priorities on Africa’s energy agenda. To establish an energy transition with long-term climate ambitions, the continent requires an approach that simultaneously delivers on these three imperatives.

Energy is still not affordable for most in Africa

As energy systems reconfigure to low-carbon models, it subsequently comes at a cost to Africans who have witnessed the considerable escalation of energy prices in the last decade. The onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) has and continues to present opportunities to build more inclusive societies where energy is distributed in more equitable and affordable ways.

Our future demands more energy diversity and security

The ETI suggests that dual diversification (of supply source and supply mix) is key to strengthening energy security. However, many African states are among the 103 countries classified as lacking diversity in energy supply. The transition to renewables and low-carbon technologies will bring with it a new complex range of challenges as migrating existing infrastructure will require large investment.

African leaders need to prioritise legally bound policies and regulations

Whilst they have not always been in place, regulations and policies that reinforce and advance the energy transition are essential. It remains critical that energy figureheads lay the foundations towards a future where meeting globally agreed climate goals becomes a notable component of African leadership cultures.

Demanding change increasingly means changing demand

To realise the monumental shift required by the energy transition, changes in the way we consume energy on the continent are essential. As such, rapidly scaled clean demand initiatives could motivate investors to finance low-emission technologies, thereby enabling nations to increase their hydrocarbon independence.

Industries need to unite on decarbonisation

It is fundamental that industries across the continent collaborate in the decarbonisation of trade, which together represent 30% of total anthropogenic emissions.

There are three areas various stakeholders should prioritise:

  • Collaboration between customers and suppliers.
  • Collaboration among industry and cross-industry peers.
  • Collaboration across a wider ecosystem of stakeholders that includes governments, policymakers, financiers, researchers, and NGOs.

The urgency with which we need to play our part in Africa’s energy transition has never been higher. However, if we can take encouragement from our response to recent global challenges, it is evident that a sustainable future, where energy is affordable for all Africans, is still possible if the appropriate decisions by are made with generational benefits in mind. Today’s leaders certainly have the tools to shape tomorrow’s Africa.

The Africa Energy Indaba 2023 will be unpacking, amongst others, the abovementioned pertinent topics in the ongoing energy transition debate and energy stakeholders can be privy to the conversation by registering their attendance today.

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