Skip to main content

UAE’s Masdar thinks Africa poised to be hydrogen hub

The African continent has a lot of potential to produce hydrogen as an energy source, but there are also many challenges, according to some observers.

Hydrogen continues to be a major topic at the United Nations Climate Change Conference, aka COP27. 

The Emirati renewable energy company Masdar released a report today on the potential of the African continent to become a hub for the generation of green hydrogen. 

What is green hydrogen? Hydrogen can be used as an energy source when it is separated from water via electricity. When that electricity is powered by renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, it is referred to as green hydrogen. 

Africa’s potential: Masdar identified several factors that indicate the potential of African countries to produce green hydrogen. The continent has an abundance of sunshine and land, as well as relative cost effectiveness vis-a-vis other areas. 

The Abu Dhabi-based company, which is owned by the Emirati government, predicted that Africa could produce 30 to 60 million tons per year of green hydrogen by 2050. This would require between $680 billion and $1.3 trillion in investment, however. At present, Africa as a whole accounts for only about 3% of global hydrogen project announcements, according to Masdar’s report. 

Masdar is not alone in its thinking. The DC-based Brookings Institution released a report in May noting Africa’s excellent solar and wind resources and hydropower potential along the Nile and Congo rivers. The report further noted that several European countries have expressed interest in developing Africa’s hydrogen sector. 

Challenges: It will be difficult for Africa to become a hydrogen hub, however. The Brookings report also pointed out that more than half of Africa’s population does not have electricity. Hydrogen also requires water at a time of rising water scarcity in Africa. Moreover, maritime shipping of hydrogen would add to costs, according to Brookings. 

Why it matters: Gulf states, including the UAE, are showing increasing interest in green hydrogen. In May, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company signed a green hydrogen cooperation agreement with British Petroleum. 

Some of the Gulf’s hydrogen projects are in Africa. In October, Saudi Arabia’s ACWA Power signed a green hydrogen deal with South Africa

Egypt and Morocco have also shown a strong interest in green hydrogen. The Saudi company Alfanar pledged in August to start building a green hydrogen plant in Egypt

Know more: Green hydrogen is a stated focus of COP27 this year. Egypt announced another green hydrogen project at the conference this week. At the same time, many more fossil fuel industry lobbyists are present at the conference this year than compared to last. 

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in