event 10 mars 2020

Publication // Africa’s Future Counts: Renewables and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

By Res4Africa & Enel Foundation. Africa’s energy future lies in renewable energy, which can deliver affordable, reliable and clean energy as well as create new markets. As African societies grow and urbanize, so the demand for basic resources is set to multiply. Overcoming Africa’s energy access gap will rely on a diversified strategy complementary to the continent’s growing demand for resources. The Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus offers an innovative perspective on bridging the energy access gap by considering energy as an enabler for development, and by emphasizing the interdependencies between water, energy and food supply systems.

Res4africa energy counts

Africa faces a myriad of opportunities to achieve long-term sustainable economic growth. A major barrier to this path of growth remains the lack of widespread access to energy across the continent. Access to energy sustains economic growth, transforms societies and changes millions of African livelihoods. In fact, the WEF Nexus can reveal business models that look at how energy can connect with water and food to respond to essential development needs, thereby improving access to resources, increasing economic productive capacities and driving socio-economic welfare in Africa. Not only can a proliferation of these applications help to close Africa’s energy access gap, it also spurs market development that set African communities and economies on a path towards sustainable development.

The WEF Nexus offers an innovative approach to simultaneously address water, energy and food security in Africa. The benefits of its implementation are widespread at all society levels, but they can reach even further in African rural areas, considering the relevance of agriculture to the continent. Indeed, the agricultural sector is at the heart of Africa’s economy, which relies on agricultural production both as a source of employment and income generation for most of its population. To ensure the continent’s longterm economic growth and eradicate poverty will depend in part on the ability to industrialize this sector, increase its productivity, and advance development of rural areas. Agriculture and related industries cannot exist without secured energy and water resources. Here again, energy acts as the enabler of increased food security, agricultural productivity and improved access and management of water resources for both human and agricultural uses.

Renewable energy for a sustianable WEF Nexus approach in Africa

Renewable energies help meet Africa’s need for resources in a sustainable way. Thanks to its inherent characteristics, RE technologies offer sustainable solutions to leverage synergies between water, energy and food sectors to enhance resource optimization, foster economic development, and benefit communities. RE technologies can impact water, energy and food sectors in many ways:

  • reduce dependency on fossil fuels, which increases energy security and improves reliability and safety of the water, energy, and food supply chains;
  • decrease services costs, raising the affordability of water, energy and food supply chains;
  • enable more efficient and better resource management;
  • improve access to water and energy in remote areas generating positive impacts across entire economic value-chains;
  • allow improved access to modern energy services;
  • reduce carbon footprint across all sectors;
  • open new opportunities for agricultural economies, when embedded into integrated strategies across WEF sectors.




© Res4Africa, Enel Foundation.


Res4Africa & Enel Foundation, 2019. Africa’s Future Counts: Renewables and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus.

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