Why Africa’s Energy Future Cannot Simply Forsake Fossil Fuels

Humphrey Kariuki
2 min readApr 23, 2024

In the intricate tapestry of global energy policies, Africa’s unique challenges and potential for technological revolution bring a critical perspective to the fore. Humphrey Kariuki, in a recent op-ed featured across prominent publications such as Invest Africa, The Africa Report, and Business Daily, eloquently argues why Africa is not in a position to abruptly abandon fossil fuels.

Kariuki underscores the stark reality facing the continent — where 600 million people lack access to electricity, a number surpassing the combined populations of the USA, UK, and France. He points out the pressing need to enhance energy availability, access, and affordability to eradicate energy poverty in Africa and the Global South.

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Despite the global shift towards renewable energy, Kariuki advocates for a balanced approach that does not alienate fossil fuels immediately. He emphasizes that new technologies beneficial in Western contexts might not be directly applicable in Africa due to different infrastructural and economic landscapes. Instead, he promotes a gradual phase-down of fossil fuels, aligned with advancements in energy technology and increased power availability.

Kariuki also highlights significant financial and regulatory hurdles that hinder the adoption of emerging technologies in African markets. These challenges include stringent financing conditions that many renewable projects fail to meet, making them unbankable and high-risk investments.

Moreover, the op-ed discusses innovative solutions like the use of bioenergy technologies and the development of Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) facilities, which offer more sustainable and economically feasible options. For instance, the Dalbit initiative in Tanzania, which converts vehicles from liquid fuel to CNG, showcases how transitional energy solutions can foster a greener and more cost-effective fuel alternative.

Humphrey Kariuki’s insightful commentary delineates a pragmatic roadmap for Africa’s energy transition. It advocates for a hybrid strategy that incorporates both traditional and innovative energy sources to ensure a comprehensive and sustainable energy ecosystem. This approach not only caters to immediate energy needs but also sets the stage for a more inclusive and equitable energy future in Africa. For further insights into Africa’s energy dynamics and other thought leadership pieces, visit Humphrey Kariuki.

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Humphrey Kariuki

Visionary African entrepreneur driving sustainable energy, wildlife conservation, and economic growth, fostering a prosperous future for the continent.