The new international targets to improve people's lives and protect life on the planet, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), do much more than just extend for another 15 years the remit of the Millennium Development Goals. The SDGs will only succeed, however, if they can succeed in Africa -- whose rapidly growing population most needs the change that the agenda describes.
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.
Can we stave off catastrophic climate change while building the energy systems needed to power growth, create jobs and lift millions of people out of poverty? That's a crucial question for Africa. No region has done less to contribute to the climate crisis, but no region will pay a higher price for failure to tackle it.
For the very short term without adequate investment, good governance, and strong leadership, Africa cannot take a leadership role – globally – in leap-frogging from current energy systems to efficient, resilient and low-carbon economies.
The APP report is measured, advocating renewable forms of energy such as wind, solar and hydro-power as part of the mix, but not overlooking the necessity of the continued use of fossil fuels in Africa in the short to medium term.