The “paradox of plenty” debate tends to focus on fossil fuels and minerals. Countries that are rich in these resources are often – paradoxically – kept financially poor, with the proceeds of natural wealth largely profiting political elites, foreign companies and commodities traders, rather than being used strategically to bring whole populations out of poverty.
Africa’s energy challenges are immense. Power shortages diminish the region’s growth by 2-4 percent a year, holding back efforts to create jobs and reduce poverty. In addition, despite a decade of growth, the power generation gap between Africa and other regions is widening.
Despite the climate challenge, we see that billions of dollars are still spent subsidising fuel consumption within Africa and providing exploration subsidies to international fossil fuel companies.