Africa is facing an energy crisis: the existing production capacity cannot meet the growing demand for electricity. The electricity needed to power and grow the economy, drive local development and tackle urban and rural poverty is simply not there. In addition, traditional sources have become unreliable, unaffordable or increasingly unacceptable. Energy has been described as the ‘missing millennium development goal’ that enables others to be achieved, yet according to the World Bank less than 25% of Sub-Saharan households have access to electricity, falling to 10% in rural areas. The traditional energy solution has relied on fossil fuels, yet not only are they becoming unaffordable, but their historic consumption by rich, industrialised nations is driving dangerous climate change. On the continent that has done least to cause it, the effects are already evident, increasing the frequency and severity of floods and droughts and impacting people’s livelihoods. This has also undermined the generation capacity of one of the continent’s major energy sources – hydropower, which has also come under pressure because of its negative impacts on people and ecosystems.
The case studies in this book identify the drivers behind the introduction of REFiTs, present and discuss the particular policy design developed in each country and analyse both supportive and obstructive factors for a successful policy implementation. On this basis, it is possible to draw broader lessons for countries interested in developing their own REFiT.