The Chinese solar energy industry and potential of renewables in Africa

Esterhuyse, Harrie (2013-12)

Article

China and Africa are developing in a time of climate change and scarcity. According to most climate scientists global economies will have to make a green shift to ensure continued future growth. However, there are very large differences in what is understood under the term “greening”. In some countries greening reflects a desire to work towards carbon-neutrality; in other countries external international pressure leads to action for the protection of internationally important carbon sinks. China faces a massive increase in energy demand—and needs to address mounting economic, political and social pressure to adopt and enforce green industrial policies and practices. Against this background, China has given rise to some of the world’s largest renewable energy companies; these companies form part of an increasingly important economic sector in China. As such these companies, their origin and drivers have become important for China’s international economic partners, including African states. This policy briefing explores the rise of and motivation behind China’s solar industry as a case study for the rise of the renewable energy industry in China. It makes suggestions to African decision makers in government and business for engaging China in the renewable energy sector.

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