This event will examine some of the social impacts of energy transition on the African continent. We will hear from our panel on their experience of what they are already seeing on the ground in markets that have seen the swiftest transition to renewable energy sources and discuss the potential future in terms of where our panel see the energy transition bringing the greatest societal benefits – and challenges – in the short and longer term.
The development of renewable energy infrastructure is key to the future of the African continent, which is projected to hold a population of two billion by 2050. Currently, about 600 million people – or half the continent’s population – have no access to electricity, and creating a sustainable energy mix will be fundamental to green industrialisation and job creation, as well as poverty alleviation.
The International Renewable Agency (IRENA) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) estimate that the continent’s solar photovoltaic (PV) technical potential at 7,900 GW, with an additional 1,753 GW potential for hydropower and 461 GW potential for wind energy, alongside geothermal and modern bioenergy. Many economic and demographic indicators show that the African continent will play a key role in the global effort to reach Net Zero, and there is a massive level of commitment needed from governments, investors and businesses to economically and financially support these states.
Countries that have traditionally relied on incomes from oil and gas to invest in key social policies will need to look at ways of replacing these incomes, and many African markets are currently exploring the production of alternative fuels for export, such as green hydrogen. At the same time, policymakers have to ensure that any potential negative impacts on the population are minimised. According to IRENA, a better understanding of how the energy transition can generate benefits beyond energy solutions can lead to policies able to deliver multiple advantages for society. They include improving energy access, healthcare, gender equity and welfare, and providing wider economic and employment progress.
As with the implementation of any new technology at scale, the societal impacts of energy transition in Africa should be properly considered.
This event will examine some of the social impacts of energy transition on the African continent in areas including education, social norms, migration, employment, energy efficiency and urbanisation. We will hear from our panel on their experiences and observations in the markets that have seen the swiftest transition to renewable energy sources. The panel will also discuss the potential future of energy transition in Africa, plotting the way in where our speakers feel it might bring the greatest societal benefits and challenges in the short and the longer term.