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Sub-Saharan Africa: Policies and finance for renewable energy deployment

This report explores trends in renewable energy investment, finance and policy in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a view to unlocking the potential of renewable energy as an important lever of socio-economic development in the region.


Modern renewable energy, such as that harnessed from the sun and wind, presents enormous opportunities for Sub-Saharan Africa. Beyond the electricity sector, renewable energy can become a core part of Africa’s structural economic transformation. It will play a fundamental role as green industries with immense potential are developed, reducing technological and structural dependencies, as well as those related to single-commodity trade. Modern renewable energy can also play a central role in managing the environmental impacts of growing populations and economies, notably through reduced reliance on fossil fuel based power generation and traditional biomass (wood fuel and charcoal) for heating and cooking.

Because some renewable energy projects – especially large-scale hydropower dams – can impact ecosystems and the traditional land management practices of local communities, increased deployment of these technologies will require a careful mix of policies to maximise benefits and minimise harm to the environment, indigenous peoples and other local communities.

Unlocking the potential of renewable energy as a lever of socio-economic development will require a structural shift in national energy policies, institutional capacity and well-honed policy tools, in addition to international co-operation. This report examines more closely the trends of renewable energy investment and finance in Sub-Saharan Africa (Chapter 2), driven by regional and national plans, targets and strategies for the sector (Chapter 3), and the policy environment for renewables in the region (Chapter 4).