Power demand will increase 93 percent between today and 2035,yet a lack of affordable and reliable energy may pose as a challenge.
While improving, the household electrification rate in Africa stands at just 43 percent, leaving 600 million people and 10 million small and medium-sized businesses without access to power. There is also a marked urban/rural divide, with electrification rate recorded at 65 percent and 28 percent respectively.
In Africa, nearly 700 million people live without clean cooking facilities. Around two-thirds of the population continue to burn biomass for fuel, which poses both health and environmental hazards and requires time-consuming foraging by women and children. The average cost for electricity in African countries is also three times as high as in United States and Europe.
Households and businesses that do have access to power often face intermittent power outages as well. Yet Africa has huge energy reserves. If Africa reinvested just 5 percent of its oil and coal export revenue, it could achieve modern energy for all by 2030. Africa also has enormous potential for clean and affordable energy.
There is vast hydro-power potential in Central and East Africa, barely 10 percent of which is currently tapped. East Africa has large geothermal energy potential, while North Africa, South Africa, and the Horn of Africa offer favorable conditions for wind and solar energy.
With far less invested in conventional energy generation than other continents, Africa has the potential to leapfrog over old technologies and become a global leader in renewable energy. Projections for electrification rates indicate a steady rising trend in the upcoming three decades, to around 70 percent in 2040, providing access to 800 million more people.