Energy Practice

Africa’s energy investment needs are acute. Less than 35% of households in Sub Saharan Africa currently have access to energy and the World Bank estimate that insufficient or unreliable power supplies costs the continent 2% of GDP each year. To put this into context: Nigeria, with a population of 190m people, consumes less electricity than London, where around 9m people live.

African leaders and the wider international community have made addressing this gap a priority. It is articulated both in National Government strategies and through the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 7, targeting universal access to Electricity by 2030.

Meeting these ambitious targets is an investment challenge. Recent developments, both financial and technological, such as the emergence of capital from the private sector and China, and rapidly decreasing costs for renewable technologies, could see universal access reached faster and cheaper than would previously have been possible. However, this also brings increased complexity in making and delivering on investment decisions, both from expanded choice, but also from an expanded set of competing interests promoting their technology or financing solution.

For many governments across Africa, making and implementing investment decisions is hard. Clear and realistic plans and policies need to be developed, while reforms are often needed to ensure the sector is financially viable. Achieving both of these can be extremely challenging with vested interests, both domestic and international, trying to pull governments – where institutional capacity is often low – in different directions. This is where our Energy Practice support comes in.


The support of the Institute has allowed the Guinean Government to achieve substantial savings of more than $ 200 million over 5 years, and therefore with a positive impact on the sustainability of our public finances.

Hon. Malado Kaba Minister of Economy and Finances, Rep. of Guinea

We help governments make informed decisions by linking sound technical and financial analysis to the political decision-making process. Once decisions have been made we work with governments to engage with external parties such as investors, and to establish the structures and systems needed to ensure delivery.

We do this through embedding experienced Energy Advisors within governments, sometimes as part of a wider cross government team (for example complementing the work of advisors in the Presidency or Ministry of Finance), or sometimes for discrete assignments. In either case our approach is to provide trusted, impartial support to key decision makers to make and implement decisions.

Through our Energy Practice, our advisors can bring to bear different aspects of our energy platform including:


Our regional finance and trade model has identified around $30Bn in savings that could be achieved across West Africa through effective energy trade. This analysis is being used to support and governments to identify specific trading opportunities.


Our Executive Chairman, Tony Blair, chairs our Energy Senior Advisors forum. These advisors can engage at senior levels of government to help politicians think through and address challenges. For example, we were grateful to Kandeh Yumkellah, the former Secretary of the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All Programme, for supporting our work in Rwanda by engaging at senior political levels and helping advance the case for a market led Rural Electrification Strategy.


Our practice has strong partnerships with a range of complementary actors in the sector, which we can draw on to provide rapid and short-term expert advice and support to the governments we work with. For example, we work closely with the Rocky Mountain Institute who have supported us in deep technical analysis, and with the legal firm Herbert Smith who have provided targeted legal support on private sector projects.

Join us

Be the first to know what we’re doing – and how you can get more involved.