Originally published in Science, November 24, 2023.
At the UN climate summit (COP28) kicking off in Dubai next week, we can expect the nations of the world to issue a flurry of energy- and climate-related announcements, pledges, and plans. Like their global peers, African governments will be using COP28 to demonstrate their climate ambition, building on commitments they made at the inaugural African Climate Summit held three months prior in Nairobi.
But unlike their peers, African governments’ plans and pledges have largely been developed and driven not by African analysis and expertise but by foreign consultants and experts, who typically use tools and approaches not well adapted for the African context and who draw on poor local data, which further limits the quality of their analyses.
The results of this outsourcing are predictable: Africans are rendered invisible in their own energy planning discussions, while those plans lack rigor, credibility, relevance, and impact as they attempt to answer perhaps the biggest challenge in human history. But the solution isn’t simply to kick out all the foreigners. Instead, African governments and their development partners must finally face up to the hard task of building African energy transition planning ecosystems to put African data, expertise, and aspirations at the center of that planning.
Read the full article here.