Africa Poised to Shift to Clean Green Energy Economy

Africa is well-positioned to shift from fossil fuels to a clean green energy economy by embracing renewable energy and achieving food sovereignty.

The Africa Climate Summit focused on championing green growth, which balances the finance architecture towards advancing Africa’s development in the green growth vision shared worldwide.

Mohamed Adow, Director of energy and climate think-tank Power Shift Africa, emphasized that while Africa did not cause climate change, it is Africa that will determine whether humanity can fix it. He added that how Africa develops over the next two decades will determine the fate of the planet.

Green growth focuses on reducing emissions to prevent the worst consequences of climate change. Despite having the lowest emissions, Africa has been severely impacted by climate change, including desertification, droughts, and cyclones hence the urgency in adopting an Africa clean energy economy. In March 2023, floods and landslides displaced up to half a million people and killed 500.

According to the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), climate-related disasters are costing African countries $7 billion to $15 billion per year. By 2030, these losses will rise to $50 billion annually. To adapt to climate change, African countries need to raise $124 billion per year by 2030, but they currently receive only $28 billion per year.

Bruce Douglas, CEO of the Global Renewable Alliance, said that the Africa Climate Summit is a rallying point for collective action and a reminder of our shared responsibility to safeguard the planet for current and future generations.

Food is crucial for any nation’s development, but Africa has not been able to achieve food security. The continent is experiencing one of the worst food crises in 40 years, with the Horn of Africa being the most affected. The deaths of 9.5 million livestock in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya have contributed to the crisis.

Chilufya Chileshe, the food policy expert at SDG2 Advocacy Hub, said that it is essential to address the food crisis by improving food sovereignty and adopting renewable energy. He noted that the Africa Climate Summit needs to offer Africa a unified position on these critical issues.

The continent has abundant potential for an Africa clean energy economy, including solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower. However, only 1% of this potential has been tapped. In 2022, the continent only received 0.8 percent of the $495 billion invested in renewables globally.

President William Ruto of Kenya has been vocal about the need for decarbonization in Africa. He said that the continent is ready to provide leadership and work towards global efforts to decarbonize.

“We, therefore, have an opportunity to lead the world and show that we can industrialize and prosper – and achieve this in a low carbon and sustainable manner, and make this century, an African Century,” said President Ruto.

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