Publication - Africa Energy Outlook 2022

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Africa Energy Outlook 2022
International Energy Agency (IEA)
Published in
June 2023
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has been working on African energy issues for more than two decades. We began in 1999 with pioneering work on energy access data, but our efforts have expanded significantly since then in both breadth and depth. In 2015, we began opening the doors of the IEA to major emerging economies and have welcomed South Africa, Morocco, and Egypt as Association countries.

The Africa Energy Outlook, under the banner of our flagship World Energy Outlook series, has become a key contribution to developing a better understanding of the trends and dynamics at work in African energy systems and how they could evolve in the coming decades. This latest edition was produced in cooperation with the African Union Commission, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and more than 20 African experts from 15 different countries.

Today, it is more important than ever to gain a clearer picture of the rapid and varied energy sector developments taking place across a continent where vast gaps remain in terms of reliable data and statistics – and where many millions of people are suffering as a result of energy poverty and the damaging effects of climate change. I find it profoundly unjust that Africa, the continent that has contributed the least to global warming, is the one bearing the brunt of the most severe climate impacts.

It has been just three years since our last Africa Energy Outlook, but we find ourselves in a drastically different global context. The Covid‐19 pandemic has pushed more than 20 African countries into debt distress and reversed progress on expanding access to electricity. These difficulties are being compounded by the violent increases in energy and food prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which is hurting many consumers and businesses around the world – most severely in the developing world where people can least afford it. In these challenging circumstances for policymakers, especially those in Africa, we are determined to provide the world with as much rigorous data and analysis as possible to help inform decisions in this crucial time. This Outlook offers many powerful insights into Africa’s current energy context and its prospects for building a more modern, clean, and affordable energy future for all of its people. Its analysis can help African policymakers make informed long‐term decisions amid today’s energy crisis while highlighting how global support can play a greater role.

I would like to highlight here just one of the starkest examples: bringing access to modern energy for all Africans calls for an investment of USD 25 billion per year – a sum equivalent to the cost of building just one liquefied natural gas terminal. This underscores the indisputable case for greater efforts to achieve universal energy access and that reaching this goal is well within our means as a global community.

Stimulating the necessary investment requires international support aided by more vital national institutions on the ground laying out clear strategies. This should be the immediate and absolute priority, including in the discussions at the COP27 Climate Change Conference in Egypt in November 2022. This report is designed to aid governments as they prepare for those negotiations, providing them with an authoritative source that places Africa’s energy progress at the center of this year’s international energy and climate conversation.

In the Sustainable Africa Scenario developed for this report, all of Africa’s energy‐related development goals are achieved, including universal access to modern energy services by 2030 and the full implementation of all African climate pledges. In this pathway, energy efficiency and renewables – especially solar – are key pillars for building Africa’s new energy economy. This Outlook examines the shifting tides of the global energy landscape, as more countries commit to rapidly cutting their greenhouse gas emissions and the implications for Africa’s energy sector. Our Sustainable Africa Scenario also sees a role for natural gas and oil this decade to help fuel the continent’s economic growth and industrialization. But the report notes that despite today’s extremely high gas and oil prices, decision-makers should bear in mind longer-term trends of declining demand for fossil fuels as the transition to clean energy advances. The analysis pinpoints how African countries can position themselves today to hedge against new risks and seize emerging opportunities in areas such as critical minerals and green hydrogen.

I very much hope this report will help African governments, with the support of the international community, build a better energy future for their people. And I would like to thank all my colleagues, both within the IEA and from around the world, who contributed to this important and timely report under the outstanding leadership of Laura Cozzi.