The Leapfrog Continent

Added: 07-17-2018

This Economist article documents the rapidly increasing shift towards clean energy and how it cannot come soon enough. In some parts of Africa, clean energy will become the first and only source of energy, allowing those areas to skip over the stage of ‘dirty’ fossil fuel energy.

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Type Reading Time Author Date Source
article 5 minutes THE ECONOMIST 06-15-2006
Type Reading Time
article 5 minutes
Author Date
the economist 2018-07-17 00:00:00 UTC
Key Takeaways
  • Renewable energy is increasing throughout Africa. 
  • Coal is expected to drastically decrease, down from 50% to 23% of Africa’s energy source in 2040. 
  • Solar energy is significantly cheaper and faster to build than ‘dirty’ forms of energy.


This Economist article focuses on the growing trend in Africa to convert directly from no power to solar power, and skipping over fossil fuels. Though, the article admits that the switch is not happening quickly enough, as many countries in Africa continue to suffer from ‘dirty’ energy--primarily coal. 

Coal now makes up 50% of the continents energy, but is predicted to fall to 23% by 2040, according to McKinsey and Co. In its place, Africa is expecting a surge in hydro, steam and solar power. 

The reason clean energy has increased dramatically recently is because Africa has so many untapped resources, such as large rivers, deserts and highlands that can be used for energy. Second, solar energy is cheap and quick to build, compared to augmenting or relying on the old forms of energy. 

The article concludes that clean energy could increase dramatically given subsidies and support from regulation by government.