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Apr 10, 2012

IEA - Sub-Sahara Africa's $18B Oil Imports Price Tag Nullifies $15B in International Development Aid, Demonstrates Great Need for Investment in Renewable Energy

Energy Consumption in Africa, 2006
(lighter areas less consumption,
darker areas greater consumption)
Photo: EU, JRC Renewable Energies in Africa
On 1 April 2012 The Guardian published an article based on statistics from the International Energy Agency (IEA) concluding that countries in the Sub-Saharan region of Africa need to invest in renewable energy sources. Currently they received an estimated $15.6bn (£9.7bn) billion in foreign development aid but spend an estimated US$18 billion in oil imports.

According to Fatih Birol, chief economist at the IEA, developing countries are spending precious resources on hydrocarbon imports and not on social projects including food security, education, poverty eradication and healthcare. One solution to remedy this is to decrease dependence on oil imports by increasing renewable energy sources such as solar power, hydro-power, and wind power.

Alternative Energy as a % of Total Energy
in Africa (shaded areas light yellow is less
than 1%, dark green is 8-14% and for bar graphs
orange is 2006, yellow is 2007, and red is 2008)
Photo: EU, JRC Renewable Energies in Africa

To date, United Nations' programs focused on providing low-carbon technologies have invested in China and India but few projects have been funded in Africa. Private investments in alternative energy have been directly impact by the financial crisis and recession. According to Birol's statistics, "for every $1 that countries do not spend on cleaner fuel, they will have to spend $4.3 within the next two decades to make up, for their reliance on fossil fuels."

In February 2012, the European Union's Joint Research Centre published a report directly targeted at addressing these issues entitled Renewable Energies in Africa. It specifically outlined energy plans for Africa and made recommendations as to how African nations need to acquire the necessary research and technology expertise to begin converting from fossil fuels.

For more see:

About Margaret

CEO and Curator (The Food Museum) | Managing Director and Chief Editor (GR2 Global LLC) | Educator (UCLA PhD) | Researching and writing on global food issues, nutrition and health, sustainability, history (preservation), conservation (natural resources), and design.
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