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Renewable energy boom firing up social media in Sub-Saharan Africa

Africa will have to come face to face with the great challenge of energy production, with an ever-increasing demand that will have to be met by including renewables, essential in the future energy mix.

This is what emerged from the annual Res4Med conference titled “Renewable Energies and Investment in the Mediterranean and Africa, Challenges and Opportunities”, event that finds resistance in multiple complaints coming from information sites, industry blogs, and activists.

Currently, less than 25% of housing in sub-Saharan Africa has access to electricity and only about 10% of rural areas. With time, the situation only seems to get worse, regardless of the development and economic growth of the area, mostly because of climate change and it’s toll on the hydroelectric sector. As an answer, the government is on the lookout for renewable energy solutions, establishing ambitious objectives and investing in solar, wind and geothermic energy solutions. According to Irena (Agenzia internazionale delle energie rinnovabili), the percentage of renewable energy can go from 17% in 2009 to 50% in 2030. Renewable technologies are already the most competitive solutions for electrification in Africa, through centralized and decentralized systems, also called mini-grids.

In this context, Italy is strengthening cooperation with Africa, as its countries are amongst the most vulnerable to climate change, with the goal of “promoting responsibility, developing effective policies together, and allowing all stakeholders to be key participants in order to accelerate sustainable development” said Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti in an interview at the Italy-Africa conference at the Farnesina.

What will the future of renewable sources in Africa be? We searched for a response on the Internet, listening to the many English and French conversations on the subject that appeared in blogs, sites, and social networks in the sub-Saharan Africa region.

[January 2016]

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