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Our Work in Africa

A new vision for
Africa’s climate and energy future

Smiling woman from Nigeria Urban city in Africa

At CATF, we aspire to catalyze a new vision for Africa’s energy and climate future, where access to always-available, affordable, carbon-free energy supports prosperous economies.

This will position the continent as an emerging leader and active participant in the efforts to address climate change and decarbonize the global energy system. We see the need for a paradigm shift — away from outdated, romantic depictions and limited strategies — to an inclusive lens of resources, human potential, and growth.

The challenges

Understanding the challenges of today to build stronger, climate-friendly economies tomorrow

As we navigate the global climate crisis, Africa does so within a unique context — grappling with several interrelated challenges:

  • Energy Poverty: There are more than 570 million people in sub-Saharan Africa without access to modern electricity services. By 2030, 9 out of every 10 persons without access to electricity access will be African unless there are urgent efforts to reverse this trend.
  • Climate vulnerability: Although sub-Saharan Africa has historically contributed the least to global climate change (only 3% of global emissions) the region is the most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. From the risks of extreme weather events to impacts on food security, African economies, livelihoods and infrastructure are under threat.
  • Underdevelopment: Limited access to electricity and other modern energy forms, in turn, limits economic growth and hampers progress in other energy dependent sectors such as health, agriculture, industry, access to clean water, and sanitation.
  • Rapid urbanization: Africa is the fastest urbanizing region in the world; by midcentury 25% of the global population will be African. The continent must be positioned to meet its growing energy needs with zero-carbon sources.

A diverse set of strategies are needed to reconcile Africa’s energy and development priorities, effectively reduce emissions from the oil and gas industry, and increase the continent’s access to clean, accessible, plentiful, and affordable energy.

Our Work

Key priorities and initiatives

If we think objectively about where Africa has the potential to go, we need to think more ambitiously. Our priorities are designed to tap into Africa’s potential to transform its energy system within climate limits by tapping into a diverse portfolio of solutions.

CATF’s work focuses on expanding access to clean, affordable, and reliable energy, strengthening utility markets, and promoting zero-carbon technology innovation in Africa:

Energy Access

There is an immediate need for access to cost-effective and reliable energy at a scale that can support economic growth and rapid urbanization in the region. Clean firm power, well-functioning utilities and integrated regional energy markets will be essential to achieving this. Our work focuses on strengthening the utility agenda, stimulating demand and advancing development-centric transition pathways for African countries.

Learn more about our approach to energy access.

Methane Pollution

Tackling methane pollution is the only climate action that can dramatically slow both the rate of warming and the amount of total warming, with the potential to cut nearly 0.3℃ by the 2040’s.

CATF focuses on working with countries, companies, and civil society around the globe to build understanding, capacity, and the development of innovative policy solutions that can dramatically reduce methane pollution in the near-term.

Our expanding partnerships with countries such as Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana are great examples of how we see Africa’s leadership role in methane mitigation related to the prevalence of oil and gas production across the continent.

Learn more about our work in methane pollution prevention.

Developing Research & Innovation Hubs

Africa must take the lead in shaping its clean energy future. At CATF, we envision the continent as an incubation ground for the next crop of entrepreneurs and forward-looking thinkers who can design an energy system that will be uniquely positioned to address the needs of African economies and the African people. We partner with regional research institutions and experts to cultivate and support the research and innovation ecosystem needed to advance zero-carbon technologies on the continent.

Zero-Carbon Fuels

Many African governments are looking to support the expansion of baseload energy sources as a foundation for economic growth. For countries who are yet to build their energy infrastructure, there is a significant opportunity to establish a strong, climate-friendly foundation that takes advantage of zero-carbon fuels such as hydrogen, ammonia, and advanced nuclear, as these fuels come down in cost and become economically feasible for the continent.

Learn more about the power of zero-carbon fuels.

Superhot Rock Geothermal

The East African Rift Valley boasts some of the richest geothermal resources in the world. We are examining the potential for superhot rock geothermal as a carbon-free baseload energy source in Kenya and surrounding East African countries. This could potentially transform the face of the region’s geothermal industry and provide much needed power to fuel industrialization and growth.

Explore our innovative work in superhot rock geothermal.

The latest in our Africa work

Our Approach

Building an inclusive, systems-changing
approach to powering the continent

At CATF, we think very differently about Africa as a place for energy independence, technology innovation and climate leadership. We stay away from imposing views and limited frameworks and rely on our ability to engage with local partners to build strong networks of influence that advance bold ideas and cultivate a favorable environment for technology innovation and economic growth. We believe that it is Africa’s role to determine what clean energy sources will work for the region, and we seek to join efforts, provide knowledge, and design solutions that can lay the ground for a carbon-free African energy system.

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