How to Navigate Energy Transition in Africa – Osinbajo

The energy transition for Africa is not merely about reaching net zero by a target date, but about securing a decent existence and sustainable livelihoods for the fastest growing population on earth, immediate past vice president of Nigeria, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, has said.

Osinbajo stated this recently in an article for US-based Brookings Institution’s Foresight Africa 2024 series.

Explaining, Osinbajo noted that “Africa is faced with not one, but two existential challenges. There is climate change itself, warming up the continent faster than any other region of the world. And despite emitting the least to global emissions, Africa remains the most vulnerable to the worst of its ravages.

“Then there is the added challenge of energy poverty and lack of access, and its implications for the survival of Africa’s 1.4 billion people, 580 million of whom have no access to energy. More than 150 million Africans have access to unreliable energy and nearly 1 billion have no access to clean cooking, leading to 600,000 avoidable deaths per year.”

On securing a decent existence and sustainable livelihoods for African, Osinbajo added that, “However, were Africa to grow to middle to high income status on the same carbon intensive pathway that wealthier countries have gone, she will add at least 9.4 gigatons of CO2 emissions annually until 2050,1 making global net zero ambitions impossible to achieve.

But this energy challenge presents a real opportunity for Africa to grow to middle income status, while solving humanity’s biggest existential threat, climate change, Osinbajo, the Global Advisor for Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), stated.

This opportunity lies in climate positive growth, he further said.

“African countries can decarbonize the world, halt, and eventually undo climate damage—and generate inclusive economic growth, jobs, and livelihoods.

“With the world’s largest untapped renewable energy potential, youngest and fastest growing workforce, and 30% of the world’s critical minerals, Africa is uniquely positioned to lead on green global manufacturing and supply chains and remove carbon from the air.

“The abundance and low seasonality of Africa’s renewable energy position it to reliably provide considerably cheaper renewable base load to continuously power industrial production,” he added.

Osinbajo noted that “aggressively deploying its renewable energy resources, Africa can provide energy to all Africans—600 million of whom currently lack access to energy and 150 million of whom have unreliable access to energy—at a 30% lower cost and with over 90% lower emissions per kWh, compared to the current stated policy.”

“Furthermore, significant cost efficiencies can be achieved by establishing green value chains to process critical raw materials on the continent,” he stated.


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