Last month the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a synthesis report that summarises the latest comprehensive scope of knowledge on issues related to climate change. At the risk of oversimplifying the densely detailed synthesis, it observes that, while the world has the tools to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, actions taken so far are not enough. The report does not seem to have received wide media attention in the continent. But, in Africa, one of its observations is how the continent has severe climate data constraints and inequities that reduce its adaptive capacity. The observation is perhaps not new. Except that, in reminding us how the continent continues to lag behind other regions, it inadvertently pokes at the sore points where the iniquities continue to stand out. It would be good, for example, if we had easily accessible renewable energy to not only drive Africa’s development and industrialisation but pull its weight in tackling climate change. But while other regions are way ahead, nobody can tell when the continent will fully transition to green energy. This is despite the continent being well endowed with the sun, wind, and hydropower to sustainably produce clean energy. A clearer picture, however, emerges in the numbers. A recent study finds that although 2,500 power plants are planned to be developed in Africa by 2030, less than 10 per cent of them will produce green energy. The study suggests coal, oil, and gas will remain the leading sources of fuel for the generation of electricity across all 54 African countries. Only 9.6 per cent of electricity produced will make use of green energy, with the plants making use of renewable resources including solar, wind, and hydro energy. Why the comparatively low number of renewable plants in the continent? A researcher with the World Resources Institute attempted to explain why in a recent analysis in The Conversation. The comparatively low number is probably testament enough to there being serious structural issues, but the researcher debunks the belief that such as solar and wind are the cheap renewable sources of energy they are often billed to be. He points to the relatively high risks that investors assign to most African countries, as compared to the rest of the world. This is a barrier because it means that the investors will demand a higher return to justify investments. It also means power plants must charge customers a higher price per kilowatt hour to break even. A failure to take such trends into account tends to bias model predictions towards overestimating the role of solar and wind. The main question, therefore, the researcher concludes, is how to de-risk investments to make solar and wind power not only cheap on paper or as worldwide average, but also on the ground in every single country. Energy being the driver of development and industrialisation, it leaves those African countries holding fossil fuel reserves with few options other than exploit them. The alternative is for the countries to be left with stranded assets if they plan to invest in or have already invested in new oil and gas infrastructure, a prospect that would be difficult to contemplate. In this regard, the East African Community (EAC) well illustrates. The prospect of such stranded assets is exactly where countries including Tanzania with their vast gas reserves, and Kenya and Uganda with their oil reserves, are. Add Rwanda to the mix with its planned methane gas production from Lake Kivu. While Rwanda’s methane project will be mainly for local consumption, the other countries are keen to cash in exporting their fuels. However, while Kenya is still contending with teething problems before it begins exporting its crude oil, Uganda seems better poised to commercially pump its oil for export by 2025. This is despite issues including activist environmental concerns that remain to be fully resolved before its cross-border oil pipeline (EACOP) wends its way to the Tanzanian coast from the Albertine Graben oil fields in Uganda. Tanzania on its part is also in the process of developing its gas fields for export, probably by 2029. It however has already inked a deal with Kenya and there’s every likelihood other EAC partners will be in line to take its liquefied petroleum gas. The gas will likely be relatively cheap given the region’s economic integration. The partner states will also benefit from Ugandan oil when it shall start to flow. EAC plans to link the states to the planned refinery development in Hoima in Uganda to Mwanza, Isaka, and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Another arm of the pipeline system will start from Kampala to Rwanda’s Kigali and Bujumbura in Burundi via a major depot to be created in Mbarara in Uganda. The views expressed in this article are of the writer.