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net zero insights energy transition

27 April 2022

Episode #4
A global transition: from China to Sub-Saharan Africa

How is progress advancing in the global transition? Why do energy transitions differ from country to country? How can we move beyond black and white narratives about the 'best' and 'worst' emitters?

What we need to understand is that climate change is a collective action problem. And pointing fingers is not really going to get us anywhere. For China and India, it is true that coal continues to be a part of their energy mix, but the scale of challenges for these countries is vast. China perhaps adds more renewable energy capacity annually than the entire power generation capacity of several countries. ”

Harsh Vijay Singh, World Economic Forum


Why does the global transition vary in shape and form? Is the energy transition only truly happening in the West? Politicians like to point fingers at those who “aren’t doing their bit”. But every country – from China to Kenya – is transforming independently…

In this episode, we speak first to Harsh Vijay Singh from the World Economic Forum (WEF), who talks about the global transition and how multiple transformations are occurring all around the world. He discusses The Energy Transition Index, an annual report published by WEF that benchmarks 115 countries on the performance of their energy systems.
We then dive deep into China and Sub-Saharan Africa – two places where the energy transition looks very different. We’re joined by world-leading experts on these respective parts of the world: Isabel Hilton OBE, founder of China Dialogue and Dr Rose Mutiso, research director at The Energy for Growth Hub. Both touch upon key drivers of the variability of the global transition.
Check out all the episodes from season one here.


Harsh Vijay Singh

Harsh Vijay Singh
Agenda Contributor, World Economic Forum

Harsh has a strong interest in the energy sector, with more than seven years of experience in diverse roles. He worked on key initiatives to improve access to electricity in off-grid areas and conducted research for energy efficiency policy design in India. More recently, he led strategic marketing activities for GE's Water business in India. He's also interested in development economics. Harsh worked on development research projects at organisations like the World Bank and Poverty Action Lab. He earned his bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, and masters in Public Administration concentrating on energy policy from Columbia University.

Isabel Hilton OBE

Isabel Hilton OBE
Founder, China Dialogue

Isabel is a writer and broadcaster with a career that spans print, electronic and online media in the UK and internationally. She has reported extensively from East and South Asia, Latin America, Europe and Africa. Her work has been published in many of the world’s most eminent media outlets. She is the founder and editor of China Dialogue. This is an innovative bilingual Chinese-English website devoted to climate change and the environment. She also lectures extensively and holds honorary doctorates from the Universities of Bradford and Stirling. Isabel was appointed OBE in 2010 in recognition of her work in raising environmental awareness in China.

Dr Rose Mutiso

Dr Rose Mutiso
Research Director, The Energy for Growth Hub

Rose is the Research Director for the Energy for Growth Hub and co-founder and CEO of the Mawazo Institute. Previously, Rose was a Senior Fellow in the Office of International Climate and Clean Energy at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). Here, she led engagement on tech and policy dimensions of energy access in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Prior to this, she served as an Energy and Innovation Policy Fellow in the office of U.S. Senator Christopher A. Coons. Here, she authored several pieces of legislation that were signed into law by President Barack Obama. She earned her BA and BE in Engineering Sciences with a concentration in Materials Science from Dartmouth College, and her PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.