Brussels: European Think Tanks Group (ETTG) (November 2022)
Africa and the European Union (EU) have a shared interest in providing reliable and clean energy to their citizens, despite this being a rather heated moment of Africa-Europe relations in the area of climate and energy cooperation. Tensions concern the perceived protectionist slant of the European Green Deal, the EU’s “dash for gas” in Africa as part of its strategy to become more independent of Russian imports, and multilateral climate issues, such as at COP27 the balance between climate finance, loss and damage, and climate ambition. Hydrogen technologies have been prominent in discussions between the EU and African countries since the 2020 political push for hydrogen in Europe. In theory, cooperation on hydrogen may benefit both continents. Yet, techno-economic issues remain unsettled, and a framework for cooperation needs to be set up that includes both environmental and social criteria, economic benefits, as well as investments in industrialisation for producer regions. Just Energy Transition Partnerships (JETPs) have so far been targeted mainly at countries with rapidly growing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, such as South Africa and Indonesia. While this is a legitimate focus, it risks leaving out most African countries, in particular the least developed ones. JETPs in Africa could focus on access to clean energy and bring important innovations in terms of country ownership and donor coordination.