Is Africa’s Energy Transition Within Reach?

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    On 26 July 2019, UNU-INRA will convene the second session of the Professor Alexander Adum Kwampong Lectures: Nature Speaks. The lecture — “Is Africa’s Energy Transition Within Reach? Construction and Deconstruction of Energy and Development Narratives in Africa” — will be delivered by Dr Youba Sokona, Vice Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    Launched in April 2019, the Professor Alexander Adum Kwapong Lectures: Nature Speaks is a quarterly event held at the University of Ghana, with the aim of providing a space for free debate and the exchange of ideas.

    About the topic

    The world is undergoing a fundamental shift from centralised fossil fuel-based energy systems to increasingly decentralised renewable energy systems at scales to suite every energy need. Limited energy infrastructure, population spread over vast areas, and a wide range of climatic constraints in the African context have constituted a disadvantage – but all that can now be an advantage.

    Africa has extensive renewable energy availability, and the technologies required to utilise this energy have seen considerable development and can be scaled to meet every need and installed where needed. Furthermore, Africa can avoid the costly lock-in of centralised energy systems in areas previously without electricity and upgrade existing systems to enhance energy security. Perhaps most importantly, energy is essential to the task of meeting people’s aspirations and is a precondition for wider economic and social development.

    The lecture will set out the deconstruction of the African energy narrative, the vision, the context, and opportunities to harness renewable energy for development in Africa in an increasingly carbon-constrained world.

    About the speaker

    Prof, Youba Sokona is Special Advisor for Sustainable Development at the South Centre. With over 35 years of experience addressing energy, environment, and sustainable development in Africa, he has been at the heart of numerous national and continental initiatives, including the “Africa Renewable Energy Initiative” and the “LDC – Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Initiative”. Prof. Sokona was elected Vice-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in October 2015, and previously was Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III on the mitigation of climate change for the Fifth Assessment Report.

    For more information, see the event announcement on the UNU-INRA website.


    The second Professor Alexander Adum Kwapong lecture will coincide with the IPCC Outreach Meetings, a major event co-organised by UNU-INRA, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the African Academy of Science (AAS), in collaboration with the University of Ghana, from 25 to 26 July, 2019.