Widening energy access in Africa: Towards energy transition
The discussion to widen access to modern energy services has been influential in shaping some of the discussions on energy at the international level. The practice of widening modern energy services access to the poor in Africa is complex, and exacerbated by the dual nature of the energy system across Sub-Saharan Africa where traditional and modern energy systems and practices co-exist. This presents major challenges for policy makers who have to contend with a fragmented energy system, which requires the mobilisation of an array of actors at cross-sectoral levels in order to develop effective institutions and implement innovative policy frameworks. This paper further argues that, the ‘energy access’ discussion needs to take place in the context of energy transitions, giving due consideration to the productive sector as an important vehicle for change. As the link between energy and development is context specific, each African country needs to chart its own energy transition pathway into the future, and there are ample lessons that they can draw from previous energy transitions.
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