From an energy perspective, over the past decade sub-Saharan Africa has been witnessing the most radical change in its history, with energy access steadily and universal energy access being an achievable objective for the first time. Thanks to its renewable-energy potential and a mix of technological, regulatory and financial factors, in the coming years Sub-Saharan Africa could leapfrog from a situation of low or no availability of energy to a sustainable and universally accessible supply, skipping the intermediate steps characterised by an unsustainable use of energy commodities and standing up as one of the active players in the global energy transition. This will require ad hoc incentive schemes, appropriate regulatory frameworks and greater participation of private actors and local businesses, as well as counteracting the unpredictable effects of the COVID-19 pandemic to avoid losing the momentum Africa has generated.
To guarantee the continuation of the historical shift in energy access in Africa, understanding the factors at play in energy leapfrogging is pivotal. We divided them into four pillars: 1) From fossil fuels to RES, 2) From centralized to distributed generation, 3) From a classical electricity market to a novel business approach, 4) From analogic to digitalised energy systems.