As current development programmes show, the German government is focusing on the expansion of renewable energies in Africa. Its goal is to ensure an improved energy supply for African countries without increasing greenhouse gas emissions or to reduce them further in the process. This would not only be an enormous improvement in the quality of life for the local population, but would also be of great benefit to industry and business, as companies currently often have to resort to cost-intensive generators powered by diesel.
Many households in Africa do not have access to electricity - especially in rural areas. 80 % of Africans heat and cook with biomass, such as firewood, vegetable waste from agriculture, charcoal or cow dung. Forests are often irreversibly deforested, which in turn has a negative impact on people, the environment and the climate.
So far, only about 450 MW of electrical power have been installed in the whole of Africa. Since a centralised power grid does not exist, a decentralised energy supply with solar, wind and water energy would be the cheapest and most sustainable option for building a stable energy structure. The most obvious potential source of green energy is solar energy, on coasts and in wide plains also wind energy, as for example in Ethiopia. Wind energy would thus offer a good complement to hydropower there, which has so far accounted for 95 % of grid-based electricity supply.
Energy partnerships between West Africa and Germany should focus on renewable energies and energy efficiency and contribute to the transformation of a fossil and extractive economy towards a sustainable and more equitable economy.