solar power africa Isaac Kasamani/AFP/Getty Images

Powering Africa’s Transformation

As African economies continue to place more emphasis on services and manufacturing, productivity and growth will improve. But African countries’ success presupposes that they generate and manage energy sustainably, which means making the most of the continent's abundant renewable-energy resources.

CAPE TOWN/LAGOS – Africa has a bright future ahead of it. Productivity and growth will improve as African economies continue to place more emphasis on services and manufacturing, pursue commodity production, and achieve quick gains in agriculture and light industry.

But African countries’ success presupposes that they generate and manage energy sustainably to keep up with increasing demand. In the next 35 years, Africa’s population will continue to rise, with a projected 800 million people across the continent moving to cities. And Africans are already disproportionately exposed to the adverse effects of climate change, even though they are collectively responsible for less than 4% of global greenhouse-gas emissions.

Urban areas will have to reduce environmental stresses by promoting low-carbon energy systems, electric mass transportation, and energy-efficiency initiatives, as well as the use of cleaner cooking fuels. And rural areas can create new opportunities that reduce the need for urban migration, by expanding renewable energy systems and energy access.

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