COVID-19 Energy Sector Responses in Africa: A Review of Preliminary Government Interventions
Akrofi, Mark McCarthy
Antwi, Sarpong Hammond
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The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed unprecedented shocks across all facets of society, from strained healthcare systems to the closure of schools and economies. The energy sector is of no exception, with several concerns being raised about the ramifications that will arise for the clean energy transition. The goal of our study is to review how governments in Africa have responded to this challenge in the energy sector. We used an internet search to gather information from government policy statements/briefs, and websites of international organizations such as the IMF, WHO, KPMG, and the World Bank. Our review revealed that the majority of preliminary responses were short-term and include the provision of free electricity, waiver/suspension of bill payments, and VAT exemptions on electricity bills. These measures were more pronounced in sub-Sahara Africa while oil-rich countries of the North mostly have broad economic measures that target their oil and gas sectors. Economic stimulus packages prepared by most countries do not explicitly mention energy sector companies/ institutions, especially the Renewable Energies (RE) sector. Only three countries (Nigeria, Kenya, and Burkina Faso) had specific interventions for renewables. Overall, interventions were mostly fiscal/financial and shortterm, with medium to long term measures often broad without being specific to the energy sector. As governments take measures to bolster their economies, they must pay particular attention to the challenges posed by the pandemic in the energy sector and capitalize on the opportunities that it presents to drive the clean energy transition.