Africa’s Energy Policy

Geography has shaped the energy policies of African nations.

In the 21st century there are numerous incentives to use the potential of hydropower, photovoltaics and biofuels to meet the demand for renewable energy. 

Africa has many identities, shaped by its geography

When we look at Africa’s energy policy, we have to bear in mind that African nations differ geographically. In North Africa we have climatic characteristics that allow agricultural production only in the north, while the interior is dry and further south quickly turns into deserts.

The north is also marked by ancient civilizations that have shaped these regions. This core region includes Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia, the core area of the former Carthage. In Libya lived ethnic groups that were already known to the ancient Egyptians, and the Egyptians themselves.

In the southern part there are advanced civilizations as old as those in North Africa, like the Nubians in Sudan. Also in Ethiopia and West Africa there are ancient cultures, which are very different from each other, not least because these regions differ linguistically. Some regions were more strongly influenced by Arabic, some by Berbers, some by Bantu people, and some have a true multicultural identity like South Africa, which also has strong European cultural influences.

Why Africa is at the centre of global energy policy

And even if one looks at the energy reserves of individual African countries, they differ greatly in terms of their concentration of mineral ores, phosphorus deposits, oil and gas reserves and the possibility of using hydropower. Power generation from hydropower is increasingly becoming a problem in foreign policy between Sudan and Egypt.

Nevertheless, hydropower can meet the demand for increasing electricity consumption in this region. Likewise, countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo have a whole range of mineral resources that are important for industrial production. However, the focus is often on Africa’s energy reserves, which explains why Nigeria, Angola and Libya play such an important international role.

However, more countries have shown interest in investing in renewable energy production on the African continent. China is considering a different strategy for expanding its economic footprint in Africa. From a natural resources perspective, Chinese companies are primarily interested in Africa’s energy reserves. Other major investors in the African energy markets are the United States, Japan and the European Union. 

The United States and China are two of the most important foreign powers that shape global energy policy and thus influence the African continent. In the globalized world, Africa has become the central axis between the Atlantic Ocean and the Indian Ocean, between the Western Hemisphere and America and between the Eastern Hemisphere and China. Just as often, the actual size of the African continent is almost always underestimated because it is misrepresented on world maps, because world maps depend on navigation routes and not on land mass. However, if you look at the sheer landmass, Africa literally stands out.

The vibe of the African cities is unique

There is a direct link between the economic growth of the global economy and the demand for energy, with economic growth increasing whenever the demand for energy has increased. This means that the two variables are linked to each other. Africa also has a high population growth rate, and many African countries can draw on large energy reserves. This can lead to high economic growth, while energy companies are primarily interested in expanding into new markets with high economic growth and significant domestic energy reserves.

Wealth will be created in economic clusters. We already see this in the rapid growth of cities such as Nairobi, Lagos and Casablanca in Northwest Africa. These cities are the beacons of their time. The influence of the city of Casablanca reaches deep into the African continent. It is to be expected that these cities will be the first to benefit from the expansion of the energy infrastructure.

Cities like Casablanca have charisma and are developing a dynamism that has long been lost elsewhere in the world. This charisma, this vibe, will be transferred to the entrepreneurial activities in these large cities on the African continent and contribute to the economic growth of these cities.

Many thanks for the shared interest in the energy world!

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