International Handbook of Energy Security
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International Handbook of Energy Security

Edited by Hugh Dyer and Maria Julia Trombetta

This Handbook brings together energy security experts to explore the implications of framing the energy debate in security terms, both in respect of the governance of energy systems and the practices associated with energy security.
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Chapter 21: Low carbon development and energy security in Africa

Chukwumerije Okereke and Tariya Yusuf


Energy poverty is without a doubt one of the most critical development challenges facing African countries today. Out of a population of about a billion, over 547 million Africans do not have access to electricity but depend on biomass for their basic energy needs (IEA, 2011). Wide scale energy provision is therefore a vital requirement for achieving the economic growth and development aspirations of African countries. This is more so the case in Sub-Saharan Africa which has the worst poverty in the world (EIA, 2011). An equally important challenge facing Africa and the rest of the world is how to deal with the problem of climate change which is caused mostly by carbon emissions implicated in energy production and consumption. Climate change, through its impact on drought, desertification, health and extreme weather events, will exacerbate energy poverty in Africa and lead to the further impoverishment of millions (IPCC, 2007a). In fact, worsening energy security problems is one the most critical ways in which climate change is affecting, and will continue to affect Africa (IPCC, 2011).

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