Africa is a continent that has shown significant progress in different fields, with the constant process of expanding and rising. What is remarkable is its energy direction through the years, which is planning to utilize renewable resources. A coordinated effort has begun in Africa, with ambitious goals and a clear direction, turning African countries into sustainable ones and supporting each other in their route towards embracing renewable energy.
Until the early 10’s, there was not a thought-out action plan for energy in Africa. Even if the continent has substantial renewable energy sources, only 7 % of hydropower was exploited until 2005-2006.
The institutional framework and infrastructure, the lack of a detailed renewable energy policy, the inadequate technology means, and a workforce that hadn’t the proper know-how are to be blamed, among other reasons.
It is to mention that not every country in Africa follows the same path towards renewable energy. Congo, Lesotho, and other states located in Central or Eastern Africa have already managed to produce 100% of their electricity based on hydropower. On the one hand, this phenomenon can be seen as a positive one, as it is of high importance that these countries lead the way and prove the high potential and opportunities that the African continent provides, due to the plenty of renewable resources.
On the other hand, it must be noted that their success is based on the truly low percentage of electrification, especially in rural areas, in which numbers do not exceed 10% in most African countries.
After 2010, and specifically from 2015 and on, there seems to be a worth mentioning change in Africa’s energy plan. Africa Renewable Energy Initiative was created, an intercontinental plan about the support the African countries have among them in implementing renewable energy sources. It is a coordinated and well-designed map of priorities and steps towards a sustainable and fully electrified Africa. It poses aspirational goals of raising the total electricity capacity by 300 Gigawatts until 2030, enhancing economic and energy security, boosting foreign cooperation, and addressing all technological and further issues that may arise.
As it emerges, the African governments expect to plan a common way towards renewable energy, combining the knowledge that some countries have already taught with each territory’s capability separately and the economic data all along. As everything shows, Africa can be sustainable and an energy superpower, as it has enormous hydropower, solar and geothermal power that need to be implemented in a better way.