The African Green Deal

As with all regions of the world, Africa must urgently consider its energy future.  Africa is rich in zero-carbon energy sources, including hydroelectric, solar, geothermal, and offshore wind energy, varying by region. It is also in urgent need of scaling up modern energy services as per SDG 7, especially 100% access to electrification and safe cooking fuels. This scale-up is vital for economic development, ending poverty, and human health. At the same time, many African nations currently produce or have the potential to produce hydrocarbons.  A few are still engaged in coal mining. In this context, Africa needs to find a pathway to 2050 that makes both economic and environmental sense. Africa also deserves more policy leeway under the Paris Climate Agreement than other global regions, in that Africa is a very small contributor to global CO2 emissions, both historically and currently, while being heavily impacted by anthropogenic climate change.

The African Union (AU) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) are currently engaged in various high-level efforts to design and implement comprehensive strategies for Africa’s energy development in order to achieve 100% access to modern energy services based mainly on zero-carbon energy sources, while developing and utilizing Africa’s hydrocarbon resources in a manner supportive of Africa’s long-term sustainable development.

Against this backdrop of intensive policy efforts, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, University Professor at Columbia University and President of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), is supporting the AfDB in analyzing alternative energy roadmaps to 2050. Key partners in this effort include the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD), the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI), and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN).