Welcome to this year's edition of African Business magazine's Africa Energy Supplement. The interviews with leading figures and in-depth articles show Africa's energy transformation can no longer be thought of as an abstract concept to be made flesh at some indeterminate time in the future--it is happening now.
We look at how far the continent has come and what still needs to be done, as it gears up for a decade of huge change with the goal of bringing electricity to all.
As our data section (see pages 6-9) reveals, access to electricity in rural areas remains very low, grid losses remain a problem and gas has overtaken coal in African electricity generation.
Green energy is fast becoming a mainstay of the power mix across the continent, as Africa seeks to be part of the fight against global warming, even if it didn't cause the problem in the first place.
The International Renewable Energy Agency thinks Africa could meet around half of its electricity generation requirements from renewable energy by 2030--if the investment is forthcoming (see P53).
That could mean a sevenfold increase in renewables capacity by the end of the next decade. If that could be achieved, not only would electricity access be improved, but it would also lead to carbon-dioxide emissions reductions of up to 310 megatonnes a year.
No one should underestimate the scale of the challenge. As Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the UN's Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) points out on pio, without stepped-up investment to close Africa's energy gap, the continent will by 2030 have close to 590m people without access to electricity --the same number of people as at present.
At the regional level, East African countries have some of the most ambitious power generation expansion targets in the world (see pages 18-19), while the region has shown numerous examples of progressive policy development over the past year (see pages 20-21).
In North Africa, Morocco and Egypt are characterised by innovation and the rapid development of renewables, but the transition is proving slower...