April 25

How Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Will Impact Africa’s Energy Transition

Russia’s assault on Ukraine has roiled global energy markets and turned the climate policy conversation upside down. To date, most of the attention has focused on European energy security and how the crisis might shape (for good and bad) that region’s decarbonization plans. But the energy sector impacts of this war will reverberate across every corner of the globe. Here are seven ways it could impact Africa’s energy transition.

1. African leaders will increasingly frame energy poverty as an energy security issue deserving the same urgency.

In Europe, disrupted gas exports from Russia, the world’s second-largest producer, threaten economic activity and the ability of people to heat their homes. This threat to energy security has kicked off a flurry of responses, including U.S. efforts to help expand and diversify the region’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply. The intensity of the U.S. and European response is well justified: no family deserves to go without heat or electricity. When populations who generally take energy security for granted suddenly find it threatened, they will stop at nothing to protect it. But what about populations who have never had the privilege of energy security? Chronic energy poverty—widespread and worsening across Africa and parts of Asia—is, if nothing else, the most extreme form of energy insecurity. African leaders will rightly argue that this crisis should be tackled with the same degree of urgency and resources.

Photo courtesy of Russell Watkins/DFID.

Source: Council on Foreign Relations (link opens in a new window)

decarbonization, energy access, renewable energy