Middle East and North Africa

Middle East and North Africa

Population (2022, World Bank) 497 million
GDP (2020, World Bank) 2.58 USD trillion
CO2 Emission (2020, EDGAR) 2 680.3 Mton
Electrification rate (2020, World Bank) 16.59 %
Installed Renewable Energy Capacity (2021, IRENA) 780.1 MW

Pan-Arab Clean Energy Initiative


The energy transition towards renewables is well under way in the Middle East and North Africa. The region has advanced and ambitious energy investment and diversification plans in place, driven by the need to meet growing energy demand, promote economic growth, maximise socioeconomic benefits and meet decarbonisation objectives. Ambitions differ among countries, as do market size and readiness, but the overall picture is one of dynamism.

The business case for renewables is evident from renewable energy competing directly with conventional energy technologies. By backing the global energy transition, the region has aligned itself with the objectives of the Paris Agreement, that is to limit the global average temperature rise to well below 1.5°C. While recent progress on renewables represents a significant increase, the present level of renewable energy capacity is far below the levels planned by the region’s countries. More rapid progress is expected in the future.

Analysis for IRENA’s World Energy Transitions Outlook (WETO) reveals that the region could obtain almost 26% of its total primary energy supply from renewables by 2050, while the renewable share could reach 53% in the power sector. This would result in an emissions reduction equivalent to 1.1 Gt CO2/yr. Renewables sector jobs reach 2 million in the region under the Transforming Energy Scenario, up from 542 000 in 2017.

Driven by the climate emergency and countries’ commitments to net zero, IRENA estimates that hydrogen could meet up to 12% of global energy demand by 2050. Accordingly, the market for green hydrogen in the Middle East is moving from what seemed like a future hypothetical to a promising reality, with several plans at the domestic level to meet demand from export markets and hard-to-abate sectors.

Key data