Africa is home for about 1 bn people of many cultures, and by 2050 the population of the continent is expected to double. Currently, low levels of economic development prevent the increase of the quality of life of most African people and generate severe risks of vulnerabilities of men, women and children and ecosystems. Africa, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, has generally low levels of per capita income, energy supply and consumption, road and railroad infrastructure. Very limited access to fertilizers results in low agricultural productivity, leading to food insecurity and inducing deforestation. The unique and diverse ecosystems of the continent are fragile and under continuous pressure. Climate change, deforestation, water and air pollution further deteriorate living conditions and present severe risks to African countries and their peoples.
The COVID-19 outbreak and its consequent economic downturn present additional challenges and pose questions requiring urgent answers. At the same time, the pandemic has already resulted in exploring the post-Covid 19 pandemic New Normal. For instance, a special report by AFREC on the implications of COVID-19 on African Countries and, in particular, on the African Oil Energy Sector has recently been published (https://www.afrec-energy.org/special-reports.php). It pinpoints some future measures required, including expanding renewables. The post-Covid 19 pandemic recovery strategies and plans should inform the implementation of “Designing the African Energy sector Transition: An approach for social and economic transformation in a climate compatible manner” developed by AFREC with the support of South Centre.
Short- and long-term success of the pandemic measures depend upon, among others, elements, strategic vision reflecting current situation and future uncertainties; and aligning interests of all stakeholders.
In order to build such strategic vision, the African Energy Commission (AFREC) of the African Union, the South Centre, and the Clean Energy Innovation Partnership (CEIP) have invited leading experts from all parts of Africa and from other parts of the world to take part in a series of webinars, entitled, “Energy for sustainable development in Africa in the post-COVID19 world – looking for the New Normal”.
The first webinar “COVID-19 impact actions across Africa. First-hand information from policymakers and leading experts” , featuring our International Coordinator Sheila Oparaocha, revealed data and information on the multifaceted effects of COVID-19 in several regions of sub-Saharan Africa and responses considered there. [Thursday, 16 July 2020 – Link to recording here].
The second webinar “Sustainable Energy for Africa: transition through growth. How to boost output, improve access and reduce impact on the nature and society? Technologies, scenarios, strategies, sources of finance and business models” assessed existing tools and future uncertainties with the purpose of generating strategic scenarios – realistic, resilient and capable of providing holistic and leasing solutions matching interests of the key stakeholders in various African regions. [Wednesday, 22 July 2020 – Link to recording here]