Concerns for the future of energy in Africa

• Sources of energy are unevenly distributed across the continent and as a result are  underexploited, leading to a major portion of the biomass available to be used as energy.

• With wood as the main source of energy or fuel for a significant percent of the African population, biomass burning will have a large, significant and negative effect on the environment, on the impacts of climate change and unfortunately the African people.

• In the world of of oil & gas, there are several challenges faced and limitations that have been brought upon. The continent has limited refining capability, specifically, Africa represented only 4.1% of the world’s refining capacity in 2007, despite the significant amount of oil & gas reserves that we have available. This is a result of several issues in the industry that include but are not limited to, corruption, inadequate maintenance, theft and problems within operations. However, there is some good news, the refining capacity is currently expanding in countries like Algeria, Nigeria and others with the development of new projects that will lead to long-term growth in the sector. Hopefully this will lead to a stable balance within the crude and refined production in African oil & gas.

Subsidies for trade also present problems, in some nations these breaks provide producers to sell to international buyers rather than locals, this harms the local oil and gas economies.

The hydrocarbon economy of some of the African nations are not linked to other economic sectors, this lack of diversification poses a threat to the progress of growth of social and energy sectors. The dependence on a singular or primary resource is dangerous, affecting employment the proper distribution of clean and sustainable basic social amenities such as water, electricity and of course, energy.

• So what about alternative energy sources like solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower and even nuclear? There is no doubt there is large potential, especially with solar, as Africa is the hottest continent on the planet. However, proper legislation in partner with appropriate financial incentives and backed with scientiific innovation will make room for the successful application of non-biomass based energy resources in Africa.

Sources
Les Editions du Jaguar of the Africa Atlas published in 2011.

Oil and Gas in Africa: Africa’s Reserves, Potential and Prospects by KPMG Africa

Alternative Energy in Africa (Part 2)

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