As this report from the International Renewable Energy Agency notes at the beginning, Africa makes up 15% of the global population but has only 5% of the global energy usage. The worry for analysts and policy makers is that as the population of Africa increases, and development brings African energy usage to a level comparable to the rest of the world, the greenhouse gas emission impact could be quite severe.
In tandem with future concerns for Africa's development, this report looks at its current dependence on traditional biomass for cooking fuel which is not only a health hazard for many Africans but also an emitter of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The high use of traditional biomass is an Africa-specific issue especially in Sub-saharan regions. The report notes that many attempts have been made to move traditional people away from biomass as a fuel, to solutions like portable renewable energy sources, but these attempts have so far been too expensive and largely unsuccessful.
The report explores ways to electrify Africa using a combination of renewable energy and low-cost infrastructure improvements to bring power for cooking (replacing biomass), and lighting to rural and regional Africans. At the end of the report, the authors look at the level of international and domestic investment required to make renewable energy happen on a large-scale throughout Africa.