Africa may need to think small with its big energy plan

Last week I joined policymakers , NGO representatives and energy entrepreneurs from Africa and Europe in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to talk about energy .

My fellow delegates were from the Africa EU Energy Partnership (AEEP), which was launched in 2007 with the aim of improving energy supply and increasing access to renewable energy in Africa. At a meeting in Vienna in 2010, the partnership committed to bringing access to “modern and sustainable energy services to at least an additional 100 million Africans” by 2020.

At the time of that meeting less than half of the more than 1 billion Africans had access to electricity. The partnership advised policymakers and the private sector in order to improve energy capacity and dramatically increase this number.

Their plan was to have 10,000 MW of new hydropower facilities, 5,000 MW of wind power capacity and 500 MW of solar capacity across Africa by 2020. They also wanted to double the use of natural gas in Africa.

The meeting in Addis — the Second High Level Meeting of the AEEP — was convened in order to take stock of the challenge. But when the first status report was presented, the […]

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