Solar panels in Tanzania
Solar panels in Tanzania. Photo: Shutterstock.

Africa needs context-relevant evidence to shape its clean energy future

Peer Reviewed
23 October 2022

Yacob Mulugetta, S. Nadia Ouedraogo, Abdulrasheed Isah, Daniel Kammen, Francis Kemausuor, Ismail Khennas, Wikus Kruger, Ifeoma Malo, Linus Mofor, Minette Nago, Destenie Nock, Chukwumerije Okereke, Benedict Probst, Helen Hoka, Maria Schmidt, Tobias S. Schmidt, Carlos Shenga, Mohamed Sokona, Jan Christoph Steckel, Sebastian Sterl, Bernard Tembo, Julia Tomei, Peter Twesigye, Jim Watson, Harald Winkler, Mark Howells, Stephanie Hirmer, Youba Sokona, Olakunle Alao, Philipp A. Trotter, Samuel Fankhauser, Jessica Omukuti, Lucas Somavilla Croxatto, Bjarne Steffen, Meron Tesfamichael, Edo Abraham, Jean-Paul Adam, Lawrence Agbemabiese, Churchill Agutu, Mekalia Paulos Aklilu, Bothwell Batidzirai, Adam D. Hawkes, Getachew Bekele, Anteneh G. Dagnachew, Ogunlade Davidson, Fatima Denton, E. Ogheneruona Diemuodeke, Florian Egli, Eshetu Gebrekidan Gebresilassie, Mulualem Gebreslassie, Mamadou Goundiam, Haruna Kachalla Gujba, Yohannes Hailu, Abdulmutalib Yussuff

Aligning development and climate goals means Africa’s energy systems will be based on clean energy technologies in the long term, but pathways to get there are uncertain and variable across countries. Although current debates about natural gas and renewables in Africa are heated, they largely ignore the substantial context specificity of the starting points, development objectives and uncertainties of each African country’s energy system trajectory. Here we—an interdisciplinary and majority African group of authors—highlight that each country faces a distinct solution space and set of uncertainties for using renewables or fossil fuels to meet its development objectives. For example, Ethiopia is headed for an accelerated green-growth pathway, but Mozambique is at a crossroads of natural gas expansion with implicit large-scale technological, economic, financial and social risks and uncertainties. We provide geopolitical, policy, finance and research recommendations to create firm country-specific evidence to identify adequate energy system pathways for development and to enable their implementation.

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Publication reference
Mulugetta, Y., Sokona, Y., Trotter, P. A., Fankhauser, S., Omukuti, J., Somavilla Croxatto, L., Steffen, B., Tesfamichael, M., Abraham, E., Adam, J.-P., Agbemabiese, L., Agutu, C., Aklilu, M. P., Alao, O., Batidzirai, B., Bekele, G., Dagnachew, A. G., Davidson, O., Denton, F., … Yussuff, A. (2022). Africa needs context-relevant evidence to shape its clean energy future. Nature Energy.
Publication | 31 October 2022