The Opportunities, Challenges and Potentials for Hydrogen in Africa

African-European partnerships for sustainable development

Under stringent climate change mitigation scenarios, hydrogen is projected to play a central role in decarbonising the global energy system, complementing electrification and energy efficiency. Hydrogen production from the abundant renewable sources in Africa offers opportunities for domestic decarbonization, economic development, and export. This report employs the integrated assessment model IMAGE and scenarios analysis to assess the future challenges and techno-economic potentials of establishing a sustainable hydrogen economy in Africa, emphasising the need for equitable partnership with Europe.

The development of the hydrogen economy depends on the cost and infrastructure availability

The future cost of hydrogen depends on multiple factors along the supply chain, including production, conversion, transport, distribution, storage, and redistribution. Cost reductions in green hydrogen production are mainly attributed to advancements in electrolyser technology. Further cost reduction requires increased global investment in research and development. Expanding the hydrogen economy in Africa also means building the entire hydrogen supply chain. This requires a substantial investment, which can be challenging for several countries in the region.

Hydrogen is projected to play a significant role in decarbonising the global energy system, though several challenges remain

Hydrogen demand varies by region, with green hydrogen becoming increasingly important as regions pursue emission reductions and net-zero targets. In Africa, hydrogen plays a role in expanding sustainable energy access, decarbonising transport, and enabling green industrialisation. In other regions, it plays an important role in decarbonising hard-to-abate industries (e.g. steel, cement and the chemical industry), transport and offering low-carbon heating alternatives for buildings. The feasibility depends on successfully addressing the challenges related to water stress, storage and transportation.

Hydrogen offers a great opportunity for European-African partnership for mutual benefit

European collaboration with Africa on green hydrogen should aim to promote economic development and social stability in African countries while aiding Europe's energy transition. To ensure an inclusive transition, policymakers must coordinate across sectors and ensure that the development of an export market does not overshadow other development priorities and that it aligns with sustainable development goals and Agenda 2063 aspirations.


Publication title
The Opportunities, Challenges and Potentials for Hydrogen in Africa
Publication subtitle
African-European partnerships for sustainable development
Publication date
19 December 2023
Publication type
Publication language
Product number