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OPPORTUNITY AFRICA – THE REGION’S VAST UNTAPPED ENERGY POTENTIAL

Feb 11 '16 | By La Afrique Media | Views: 104 | Comments: 0

Africa’s energy systems stand at a crossroads. For countries across the region, this is a moment of great opportunity. Two-thirds of the energy infrastructure that should be in place by 2030 has yet to be built. Demand for energy is set to surge, fuelled by economic growth, demographic change and urbanization. As innovation drives down costs for low-carbon energy, Africa could seize the opportunity to leapfrog into a new era of power generation.

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But such positive outcomes are not guaranteed. Energy planning in Africa has suffered from a backward-looking conservatism that could leave the region on the sidelines of the global low-carbon energy revolution. Perpetuating the limited and unequal access to small amounts of power that characterizes much of Africa today is a prescription for inequality and restricted opportunity.

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There are two fundamental requirements for changing this picture. First, the quantity of power generation has to undergo a step increase. Second, far more attention has to be paid to the most disadvantaged. Devolved power generation, coupled with more flexible approaches to grid development, could bring electricity to every household in Africa. However, success will require strong political leadership to overhaul the governance of power utilities.

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