Africa's Energy Landscape

Africa’s Energy Landscape is changing, but not in a uniform direction. New discoveries of oil and gas are accompanying the expansion of renewable energy generation. What does the continent’s energy transition hold for jobs and sustainable development?

Because of its vulnerability to climate change, Africa as a whole is facing the double challenge of tackling climate change and coping with its consequences on production, growth, and employment in all economic sectors.

While adaptation efforts are already, and will continue to be needed, preventing the worst possible impacts of climate change from materializing is also critical. Otherwise, the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development may be compromised. Indeed, over the past decade, climate change and extreme weather events have caused unprecedented damage in African countries, ruining infrastructure, threatening economic activity, and destroying jobs. The most visible manifestations are the droughts in southern Africa, floods in West Africa, and desertification of entire areas in the Maghreb region.

To be sure, African countries focus most of their attention on adaptation to climate change. At the same time, however, an increasing number of governments across Africa consider a sustainable energy transition as a central aspect of their climate strategies. In this regard, several questions remain to be answered. How to achieve a sustainable energy transition that delivers inclusive growth and jobs? How to reduce the gap in skills in order to unleash the potential for vibrant enterprises and green jobs? And finally, how to develop public policy frameworks that are conducive to a just transition for workers, enterprises, and communities? This article touches upon these issues.

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