According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), sub-Saharan Africa will require more than $30 billion in investment to achieve universal electricity by 2030. Rural sub-Saharan Africa will require the vast amount of the funds, with more than 85 percent of those living in rural areas lacking access to reliable electricity.
An emerging concern for carbon emissions and sustainable development has created an opportunity for renewable energy on the continent. Recognizing the opportunity and challenges, regional bodies, including the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), have developed rural renewable energy development agendas. ECOWAS member countries have established the Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE), forming strategic development pacts with several international organizations that includes the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). ECOWAS members target nearly 20 percent for the renewable makeup of energy by 2030, which include off-grid electricity serving 25 percent of the rural population. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC) recently agreed to create similar regional renewable energy programs.