Rising Powers, Lowering Emissions?
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The importance of ensuring that African countries can meet their rising energy needs in a low-carbon way that also benefits the poor, is widely accepted. The so-called ‘rising powers’, such as China, Brazil and India are already investing in energy infrastructure in Africa, and these countries could support transitions to low-carbon development since they are currently some of the world’s largest investors in solar, wind, hydropower and biofuels. Yet, critically, the energy needs of poorer groups are not currently shaping policy and investment decisions and so energy access considerations are not being adequately addressed where low-carbon energy transitions are emerging. Northern donors have a role to play both as knowledge and financial brokers between rising powers and African countries, and in targeting investment towards small-scale and community-managed renewable energy systems, which would directly help the poor majority that are off-grid.