Africa’s Energy Transition to Cost $100 Billion Annually, Says African Development Bank President

The African Development Bank (AfDB) president, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has revealed that Africa’s energy transition will require an estimated $100 billion annually between 2020 and 2040.

According to a report published by Nairametrics on Saturday, April 1, the AfDB president made the statement during his keynote speech at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue, which took place from March 27 to March 30.

During the conference, Dr Adesina highlighted that Africa accounts for 6% of global energy use and 3% of global electricity demand, making the continent completely energy poor. However, he acknowledged that Africa had made significant progress in improving access to electricity, from 44% to 56% of the continent’s population, between 2010 and 2020.

“Despite the progress, close to 600 million people do not have access to electricity, and about a billion Africans lack access to clean cooking energy,” said Dr Adesina, emphasizing that Africa needs to connect 90 million people annually to electricity in the next eight years and shift 130 million people from dirty cooking fuels yearly to meet SDG 7 goals.

To achieve universal access to electricity, Dr Adesina proposed that Africa should utilize its abundant renewable energy sources. He stated that renewables have become cost-competitive due to the declining costs of solar and wind energy technologies and more affordable energy storage systems.

Dr Adesina also noted that the AfDB is investing in renewable energy technologies while halting funding for coal-based projects on the continent.

He suggested that natural gas exploration and production could be beneficial for Africa’s energy transition, as estimates show that tripling Sub-Saharan Africa’s electricity consumption overnight using natural gas would only constitute 0.6% of global emissions.

The African Development Bank, Africa50, and the African Union have launched the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa (AGIA) to accelerate Africa’s just and equitable transition to net-zero emissions. The initiative aims to raise $10 billion and develop green infrastructure in Africa. Wrapping up his speech, Dr Adesina said the AfDB is investing in clean cooking technologies to lower emissions. The investment in the SPARK+ Africa Fund will distribute clean cooking energy solutions, including biomass stoves, advanced biomass fuels, liquified petroleum gas (LPG), ethanol, and biogas systems, to around two million households and reduce 16 million tons of CO2 equivalent of carbon emissions.