The narratives of “leapfrogging” to new technologies are pervasive when it comes to development in Africa. One example is skipping cord phones and landlines to advance directly from limited phone coverage to wide mobile phone usage. Another that’s frequently discussed is Africa’s potential for a quick transition to renewable energy.
This is important both from a climate change and an economic development perspective. Providing affordable clean energy is big on the UN Sustainable Development Agenda (Goal 7).
Several drivers could prepare the way to Africa’s energy transition. Renewables are becoming increasingly competitive, with their costs rapidly declining both globally and in Africa.
The prices of batteries to balance intermittent supply from renewables are also declining steeply. The average market price of lithium-ion battery packs has fallen to US$137 per kWh installed in 2020. This is a 89% decline since 2010.