Lagos to Mombasa: Are Energy Access and Climate Mitigation at Odds?

More than 600 million people in Africa cannot access reliable and affordable energy. At the same time, Africa is dealing with some of the worst impacts of climate change, with floods and droughts devastating agricultural sectors across the continent.

To address both of these challenges, some experts have put forward an "ideal" solution: invest in purely renewable energy for Africa. Yet no industrialized country has managed to transition to primarily renewable resources in the way this would require, and certainly none achieved industrialization without fossil fuels.

What's the best way forward?

In this episode of Lagos to Mombasa, Gyude dives into this question with Olu Verheijen, Special Adviser on Energy to the President of Nigeria, and Vijaya Ramachandran, Director for Energy and Development at the Breakthrough Institute. Together they discuss the scale and nature of the energy crisis in Africa, the role that renewable energy can (and can't) play in addressing it, and what steps African countries—and partners—can take to address both climate and energy challenges.


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CGD blog posts reflect the views of the authors, drawing on prior research and experience in their areas of expertise. CGD is a nonpartisan, independent organization and does not take institutional positions.