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EU and sub-Saharan Africa: an energy partnership?

28 February 2014
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Three features dominate energy relations between Europe and sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). First, import-dependent Europe is interested in African supplies to help meet its oil and gas needs: 28% of SSA oil exports were directed to EU customers in 2012, accounting for 8% of EU oil imports. Natural gas has been a lesser focus, with SSA accounting for only about 1% of global production. The second theme is energy poverty in Africa. Despite the vast energy resources of the continent, many Africans still lack access to clean, affordable and modern forms of energy. Efforts to address this problem have become central to the EU-Africa Energy Partnership. The third theme, climate change, has gained relevance as a result of the EU pushing for carbon cuts and renewables development abroad, and African governments becoming increasingly worried about the impacts of a changing climate. Building coherence between the EU’s energy, development, and climate policies can help facilitate progress in all three areas. A focus on sustainability in energy – for both fossil fuel production and the development of renewable energy sources (RES) – will be central to this effort.