According to the latest annual Renewable Energy and Jobs report published by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), in 2022, only 320,000 Africans were employed by the sector, a 0.6 percent drop from 2018.
Despite a consistent growth in the installed capacity of renewable energy and more investments over the last five years, the renewable energy sector in Africa has failed to deliver a growth in employment.
This is in stark contrast to the global trend, where jobs in the renewable energy sector have been rising consistently with increased investment and installed capacity. In 2022, there were over 13.7 million people working in the clean energy space globally, a 24.5 percent increase from the 11 million reported in 2018.
Why is Africa lagging behind?
There are a number of reasons why Africa is lagging behind in terms of job creation in the renewable energy sector. One reason is that the majority of renewable energy equipment is manufactured outside of Africa. This means that many of the skilled jobs that are associated with the sector are created in other countries.
Another reason is that the renewable energy sector in Africa is still relatively small. As a result, there are fewer opportunities for people to find jobs in the sector.
There are a number of things that can be done to increase job creation in the renewable energy sector in Africa. One is to invest in the manufacturing of renewable energy equipment. This would create more skilled jobs in Africa and also reduce the reliance on imported equipment.
Another is to support the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the renewable energy sector. SMEs can play a major role in creating jobs in the sector, as they are often more flexible and adaptable than larger companies.
Finally, it is important to invest in education and training so that people have the skills they need to work in the renewable energy sector. This includes both technical skills, such as engineering and installation, and soft skills, such as project management and communication.
The renewable energy sector has the potential to create millions of jobs in Africa. However, more needs to be done to support the development of the sector and to ensure that Africans have the skills they need to work in it. By investing in manufacturing, SMEs, and education and training, African governments and the international community can help to create a green and sustainable future for the continent.