Around the world, the urgency of mitigating climate change is growing, with an increasing focus on lowering CO2 emissions and reducing the impact of development on the environment. Nowhere is this more critical than in Africa, which has one of the world’s fastest-growing populations, high levels of poverty, inequality and will be disproportionately impacted by climate events including cyclones and drought. The recent tropical cyclone Idai brought winds and flooding which killed thousands of people, impacted millions of people and damaged infrastructure across Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. The continent is home to 86 of the world’s 100 fastest growing cities, 79 (representing 48% of Africa’s GDP) of which are classified as being at “extreme risk” of climate change.
Given the strong correlation between energy usage and economic growth, this set of circumstances poses a challenge for African governments, businesses and communities. How can energy access and usage be accelerated to support economic growth, without increasing CO2 emissions and increasing the climate change risks already facing the region?