Explore our expert insights and analysis in leading energy and climate news stories.

Energy Explained

Get the latest as our experts share their insights on global energy policy.


Hear in-depth conversations with the world’s top energy and climate leaders from government, business, academia, and civil society.


Find out more about our upcoming and past events.

Columbia Energy Exchange

Africa’s Energy Transition


Dr. Zainab Usman

Director, Africa Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

 In 2022, the United States and the European Union consumed more than twice as much energy as Africa and Southeast Asia combined, despite having roughly a third of the population. At the same time, developing countries are experiencing the most severe impacts of climate change even though they’ve contributed the least to cumulative emissions.

Many of these regions are endowed with considerable clean energy potential as well as large deposits of oil and gas. Africa, for example, has the world’s greatest solar potential, 30% of the world’s mineral reserves, and large untapped oil and gas reserves. For the energy transition to succeed, the large and growing populations in emerging and developing economies must be able to meet their domestic energy needs affordably and sustainably and capitalize on their natural resources. 

What is the outlook for clean energy development in emerging and developing economies? What can be done to ensure that the benefits of the energy transition accrue to historically disadvantaged communities? And what is Africa’s role in the growing market for clean energy?

This week host Jason Bordoff talks with Dr. Zainab Usman about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for Africa’s energy development. 

Zainab is a senior fellow and director of the Africa Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Prior to Carnegie, she was a public sector specialist at the World Bank. She has written on energy and economic development in Africa, and was the lead author of the Carnegie Endowment’s recent report, “How Can African Countries Participate in U.S. Clean Energy Supply Chains?”


More Episodes

Our Work


See All Work