African countries have considerable and largely untapped potential in renewable energies. They have the potential to leapfrog to smart, participatory, distributed energy systems of the future without locking themselves into stranded fossil fuel assets and overly centralised energy systems. Thus, African countries can show the way to the future through bold plans and on-the-ground implementation.
It is in African countries’ interest to avoid the mistakes of the development models that both the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and emerging economies have pursued, and instead champion development trajectories that will benefit both people and planet in the short and long term. Many African countries have in fact already begun to fill Africa’s role as a global leader for such energy systems of the future.
Numerous programmes and initiatives have been implemented to harness renewable energies immense potential on the African continent. This paper gives an overview over existing energy cooperation on the African continent and their achievements and gaps. Further, the paper discusses the role of African civil society for Africa's energy system transformation.