More than 60 percent of West Africa’s population lacks access to energy with rural areas having much lower rates of access. With its population expected to double by 2050 and the energy demand predicted to increase fivefold by 2030, promoting the production and access of renewable energy will offer sustainable solutions to enhance wellbeing and promote economic growth and performance in this region.
To help address this challenge, START, with support from Research Fund of Quebec, is initiating ProGREEN–West Africa, a four-year project on renewable energy in West African Francophone countries. The key question the project is seeking to address is: How can small-scale renewable energy systems contribute to broader energy transition in West Africa?
The ProGREEN–West Africa project will explore the influence of small-scale renewable energy systems, such as solar, hydropower, and biomass, on wellbeing and security related to how increased energy access influences water and food security outcomes and other important development priorities related to health, education, gender and youth. This effort aims to engage key actors and institutions from the region including the private sector, and will advocate for applying lessons from energy decentralization initiatives to expand the scope and impact of small-scale renewable energy systems in West Africa.
Through this project, START will work to strengthen capacities and support networking of early-career professionals from West Africa through experiential learning as well as opportunities grants that allow these professionals to engage with researchers and other professionals from across Africa.