A major event in the field of energy and climate has just concluded in Africa: the first African Summit on Climate, which took place from September 4 to 6, in Nairobi, Kenya, and attracted no less than 28,000 participants.

This summit had a strong political dimension, in a context where discussions on climate are increasingly tense between rich countries and developing countries. The latter remind us in abundance that rich countries are still not respecting their commitment to devote 100 billion dollars per year to climate-related investments in their countries.

The differences of views between these two parts of the world are based on a simple divide. On the one hand, rich countries have achieved high standards of living thanks to high energy consumption based on fossil fuels, which makes them the main culprits of global warming.

On the other hand, developing countries, including around fifty states in Africa, have emitted very little greenhouse gas into the atmosphere. (The African continent only contributes 4%.) Which does not prevent them from wanting to achieve the same standard of living as rich countries. However, the objectives of the fight against global warming force them to avoid as much as possible the same fossil fuels which have propelled the development of rich countries. Hence this feeling of inequity and injustice.

In terms of energy, the challenges of the African continent are titanic. A large part of its population, almost 600 million people out of more than 1.2 billion inhabitants, does not have reliable access to electricity. We must therefore seek to provide them with reliable energy, without which no socio-economic development is possible.

Added to this challenge is that of demographic growth: the continent’s population is expected to double by 2050. These new citizens must be offered prospects of a decent life.

Although Africa comprises 20% of the world’s population, it receives just 2% of global clean energy investments, says a joint report from the African Development Bank and the International Energy Agency. energy, unveiled on September 6 as part of the African Climate Summit1.

According to this report, energy investments must double by 2030, to $200 billion per year, in order to provide universal access to energy and enable countries on the continent to meet their climate goals.

African countries have few financial resources. For many of them, extremely heavy public debt limits their ability to finance projects. On the private capital side, fears linked to political and regulatory risks, in particular, are leading to upward pressure on financing costs, which are two to three times higher when compared with similar projects elsewhere in the world. .

These are major challenges, which must concern all those who are committed to mitigating climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions know no borders. Africa’s immense energy needs, its young population aspiring to a decent future and its galloping demographics should remind rich countries that progress in our fight against climate change must also be made, and in large part, on this vast continent.