China could drive Africa’s renewable energy revolution, report says

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Opportunity for Green Energy Revolution in Africa Overshadowed by Fossil Fuel Dependence and Limited Chinese Investment

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Research from Boston University highlights the urgent need for China to redirect its focus on green power investments in Africa, where fossil fuels dominate energy landscapes and renewable energy receives minimal support.

Despite Africa’s immense potential for green energy, Chinese lending and investment have predominantly favored commodities extraction and fossil fuel projects over renewable energy initiatives. From 2000 to 2022, only 2% of China’s energy loans in Africa were allocated to renewables, while more than 50% went towards fossil fuel ventures.

While Chinese financing has contributed to export revenues for African economies, particularly in sectors like oil and minerals, the continent has yet to reap the full benefits of renewable energy technologies. For instance, a significant portion of hydropower projects financed by Chinese institutions are geared towards supporting metal extraction, rather than fostering energy transition.

China’s pledge to halt new coal-fired power projects abroad in favor of green and low-carbon energy solutions presents a promising opportunity to drive Africa’s energy revolution. However, to realize this potential, Chinese investment strategies must align more closely with Africa’s energy transition goals, facilitating increased access to renewable energy and reducing reliance on fossil fuels.

Currently, fossil fuels account for approximately 75% of total electricity generation and 90% of energy consumption in Africa, underscoring the pressing need for sustainable energy alternatives to mitigate climate change and foster economic development.


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