Background paper on the subtheme “Affordable and clean energy”
Author(s)/Corporate Author (s)United Nations. Economic Commission for Africa;
United Nations. Economic and Social Council;
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In most analyses, the progress made in many African countries since 1990 in increasing access to modern energy has been recognized. Africa’s energy situation, however, remains a paradox of scarcity amid plenty. The continent is highly endowed with all forms of fossil and renewable energy resources with technical and economic potential: more than 350 GW of hydropower; thousands of GW of solar power; more than 100 GW of wind power; some 15 GW of geothermal power; abundant biomass; and even some marine energy potential. Megatrends of population growth (1.3 billion people in 2017 increasing to 1.7 billion in 2030 and 2.5 billion in 2050), in addition to rapid urbanization and industrialization, will lead to dramatic increases in energy demand in Africa by 2030. The international energy agency projects 2 per cent annual growth in Africa’s total primary energy demand to 2030. While countries in North Africa have attained nearly universal access to electricity and clean cooking, and a few other countries, notably Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal and Swaziland, are making good progress in achieving universal access to electricity by 2030, most of the continent is unlikely to achieve sustainable development goal 7 with existing policies and commitments, which affects achieving the other goals, notwithstanding the numerous programs at the regional, sub regional and national levels aimed at increasing access to modern energy.