Africa’s renewable energy transition requires calculated approaches

The increasing population and expanding businesses will raise Africa’s energy needs. The population growth rate in Africa exceeds 3 percent on an annual rate. This rate is likely to escalate in the coming three decades. 

For Africa to experience industrial advancement, employment creation, and wealth accumulation, it must have sustainable energy sources. The current renewable energy plans are not at par with the population growth rate in the continent.

Renewables are capable of satisfying the unquenchable needs for electricity on the African continent. The reason for this is that renewables are affordable, reliable, and have low operational costs. Additionally, renewables the suitable alternatives regarding environmental friendliness, facilitating people’s health, and achieving climatic regulations.

Africa has become a new market for fossil fuels from the other continents because her renewables’ transition rate is sluggish. Additionally, the capacity to achieve a vast infrastructural transition to Africa is limited due to insufficient innovation programs to handle the resources.

Nevertheless, Africa’s endowment with various renewable energy resources is a challenge if the leaders cannot identify innovators to pursue this energy sector in its diversity. Exploring one renewable energy source would put pressure on it and slack the development and technical progress in the other sources.

The renewables have an initial high cost to start them, but the profits are massive once they are fully operational. Africa’s challenge in achieving full-time renewable energy systems is because her leaders are ignorant and afraid of incurring high initial costs without analyzing the future profitability. We must come to a point where we can risk it all to access reliable and affordable energy.

Technically, businesses are expanding and advancing in Africa because of the low costs of technology and the capacity to take risks. If renewable energy covers the electricity demands for production and manufacturing facilities, operational costs will reduce, motivating more businesses to sprout.

One of the best approaches to renewable energy transition in Africa is supplying this energy in community levels by developing renewable energy infrastructure where people live. A good example is Madagascar, where such resources spread through the communities. The mini-grids in Madagascar communities help reduce the national grid pressure so that the rural areas can have access to electricity.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus pandemic is delaying the rollout of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), which would have created a connection between various grids to meet the growing energy demands of Africans.

To sum up, both public and private partnerships can help realize renewables’ objective in the continent. It has dawned on the leaders that the youth and industries are the significant electricity consumers, creating the need to innovate more on renewables to meet the growing demands.