Renewable Energy

How ending energy poverty can create 500 million new jobs in Africa and Asia

New research by The Rockefeller Foundation, reviewed by the IKEA Foundation, has found that investing in distributed renewable energy could create 30 times more jobs in Africa and Asia than fossil fuel alternatives. At the same time, it could end energy poverty and save 4 billion tons in greenhouse gas emissions.

Distributed renewable energy (DRE) is renewable energy that comes from local sources, such as mini-grids, rather than central sources like power plants.

According to the report, an annual investment of US$130 billion in DRE systems could create 25 million direct jobs in the power sector in Africa and Asia by 2030. Investing in fossil fuels over the same period would create less than half a million direct jobs, most of which would be temporary.  

The research shows that investing in DRE could also create nearly 500 million new jobs in agriculture, healthcare, education and enterprise. This backs up our belief that it could trigger a green energy transition in countries where millions of people still lack energy access.

Powering development

Per Heggenes, CEO of the IKEA Foundation, says: “Over the past decade, distributed and renewable energy technologies have been rapidly replacing fossil fuels as the most cost-effective building blocks for powering economic development.

“DREs have become a faster, nimbler and more cost-effective solution for driving inclusive growth and reaching under-served populations.  As the report highlights, they also have the potential to be at the heart of a global energy transition.”

Transformative change

Dr. Rajiv J. Shah, President of The Rockefeller Foundation, says: “Technological advances have given humanity the tools for transformative change, so for the first time in history, we can address the climate crisis while empowering people with the jobs and electricity they need to care for their families, pursue opportunities, and thrive.”

Earlier this year, we announced a joint initiative with The Rockefeller Foundation which lays the groundwork for a global energy alliance to combat the climate crisis and energy poverty. This billion-dollar collaboration marks the largest philanthropic initiative to scale renewable energy for an equitable energy transition and global economic development.

Read the report: Transforming A Billion Lives: The job creation potential from a green power transition in the energy poor world