This chapter provides an overview of the Africa Wind Energy Handbook project and why the African continent must urgently develop more renewable energy for a more reliable and green energy system to power their economic development. Over the next few years, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will grow by an average of 3% across the African continent, with population expected to grow by 1.4 % each year until 2030. Yet, the electrification rate is not growing at the same pace, holding back the prospects of economic growth for the continent. For example, Sub-Saharan Africa, only 43 % of the population have access to electricity, which is an obstacle for key aspects of development such as education, health care, gender equality and access to food and water (Source: IEA WEO 2018).
Economic development is typically accompanied by structural and infrastructure changes that create a large demand for electricity such as urbanisation and the growth of so-called “Mega cities”, with 80% of the population growth in Africa occurring in cities (Source: WE Forum). Further to this trend, Africa’s industrial sector is growing and developing, which is thereby changing the role of Africa in the global economy.
Taking these developments into account, there is an urgent need to increase electricity capacity on the African content to sustain economic development. At the same time, this electricity capacity must be met by clean energy sources if African countries are to achieve their Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7 targets, which looks to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
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