Artificial Intelligence and Renewable Energy in Africa


Climate change and digital transformation are the two seismic shifts that define the 21st century (U.N., 2021). The two phenomena can amplify already heightened inequalities that have been further confounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. More importantly, artificial intelligence (AI) could potentially resolve the decarbonisation and socio-economic development challenges. The centre will, therefore, consider the interactions between energy-intensive AI systems and renewable energy as a theme under the beneficial AI and sustainable development stream.

Research Objectives and Questions

The objective of this study is to outline the energy requirements and would-be locations for crucial and pooled backbone AI facilities in Africa and elucidate the business models, capabilities, and institutional arrangements required for a more cost-effective, socially and gender-inclusive and sustainable AI and renewable energy provision in Africa.
The research questions to be considered over the initial three year-funding cycle will be:

  • What are the critical energy infrastructure requirements for the large-scale deployment of AI in Africa?
  • What policy frameworks, institutional arrangements, business models, and capabilities are necessary to achieve the most cost-effective, sustainable, and welfare-enhancing outcomes at the nexus of AI and renewable energy provision in Africa?
  • Where are the most cost-effective and sustainable locations to situate AI infrastructure allocations on the continent?

Suggested citation

Mundia, K. (2022). Artificial Intelligence and Renewable  Energy in Africa [Concept Note]. Research ICT Africa.