Africa Emerges as Key Player in Global Energy Transition

PwC's Africa Energy Review 2023 highlights Africa's growing role in the global energy landscape and the challenges ahead.

by Adenike Adeodun

PwC’s latest Africa Energy Review for 2023 shines a spotlight on Africa as a rising star in the world’s shift towards cleaner energy. The report dives into how global energy trends are shaping Africa’s journey in fossil fuel exploration, use, and export. With Europe facing a crunch due to reduced gas supplies from Russia, Africa is stepping up to fill this gap.

The ups and downs in the energy market lately really highlight how crucial it is to have dependable energy sources at reasonable prices. PwC is pushing for a smart mix of renewable energy and natural gas to tackle both energy needs and environmental concerns effectively.

According to a report by ESI Africa, Africa is sitting on a goldmine of renewable energy possibilities, particularly in its northern and southern regions. This potential is key to the continent’s move towards a more energy-secure and environmentally friendly future. The discovery of new gas reserves in places like Egypt, Algeria, and even smaller finds in Zimbabwe and Namibia, is adding to this promise.

But, there’s a catch – Africa needs to seriously address its gas flaring and methane emissions if it’s going to meet global greenhouse gas targets. Right now, Africa makes up 6.2% of the world’s gas production but is responsible for a whopping 20% of global gas flaring. PwC suggests that tackling non-emergency flaring and embracing technologies like carbon capture could be game-changers, even though they might bump up production costs a bit.

The report also takes a closer look at different regions across Africa:

  • North Africa is leading the charge in terms of energy security and access to electricity. Thanks to rich oil and gas reserves in Algeria, Egypt, and Libya, it’s on track to become a vital energy supplier to Europe.
  • West Africa, with Nigeria at the helm as a major fossil fuel exporter, is looking at a boom in exports, especially with the upcoming Senegal and Mauritania Greater Tortue Ahmeyim (GTA) LNG project. The region, brimming with a young population, is ripe for investment but still has a way to go in integrating renewables into its energy mix.
  • Central Africa, however, is facing a bit of a struggle. Dominated by Angola’s oil exports, the region’s energy influence is dwindling. Growth in LNG exports is possible but hampered by a lack of new discoveries.
  • East Africa is making strides, especially with Kenya’s investment in geothermal power. The region’s energy growth is mostly fueled by gas development and LNG exports, with Tanzania and Mozambique’s gas projects beginning to show results. East Africa could see a significant shift to gas-to-power solutions in the next decade.
  • Southern Africa is rich in natural resources, but power shortages due to old infrastructure are a major hurdle. South Africa is particularly focusing on transitioning to cleaner energy, with natural gas playing a pivotal role in moving away from coal power.

To wrap it up, PwC’s report really puts Africa in the spotlight as an emerging key player in the global energy scene. The continent is facing a mix of exciting opportunities and challenges as it moves towards a more sustainable energy future.

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