Despite its strong prospects to become a hotspot for sustainable energy, the region scored only 26%
on the Readiness Index. Experts and decision makers from the Middle East and Africa from across
the energy sector were asked to give their expert opinion on progress on 11 energy priorities. Based
on an aggregate of participants' responses, Siemens Energy and conference knowledge partner
Roland Berger launched the index which describes the perceived energy transition readiness on a
scale of 0 to 100%. The survey yielded valuable data and insights that will be used to enhance key
strategies for the energy transition in the region.
The conference participants view green hydrogen’s potential aligned with the region's capabilities –
in particular due to the availability of abundant and low-cost renewables, existing export
infrastructure and financing resources.
The report also highlighted a worrying gap between perceptions and reality when it comes to
progress on the energy transition. Conference participants on average estimated that the region's
emissions fell by 23% between 2005 and today, with only around one-third correctly identifying
that emissions have not fallen at all. In fact, emissions grew by around 50% between 2005 and
In the Middle East this increase was driven by heavy reliance on oil and gas and high standards of
living. In Africa the drivers include population growth, underdeveloped infrastructure and limited
options for financing sustainable solutions.
The region makes a relatively modest contribution to global emissions, with 7% of global CO2
emissions stemming from the Middle East and just 4% attributable to Africa. However, it suffers
disproportionately from the consequences of climate change in the form of heatwaves and severe
The gap between perceptions and reality filtered through to participants’ expectations for future
emissions cutting. The survey found that participants were expecting emissions to fall to 39% of
their 2005 level by 2030; a widely optimistic view given the little that has been achieved so far.
“The disparity between the reality of the energy transition and perception in the Middle East and
Africa highlights the eagerness of governments and companies to portray their successes when it
comes to decarbonization,” said Karim Amin, Executive Board Member, Siemens Energy.
“This excitement is a good thing and shows that companies and governments are interested but we
need to make sure that it is backed up by real action. This should serve as a reality check. We still
have a long way to go to decarbonize our energy systems,” he added.
Participants were clear that emissions need to fall in the region across the board, not just in the
energy sector but also in areas such as construction, industry and transportation. Decarbonization
efforts must be stepped up in order for the goal of carbon neutrality by 2050 to be realistic.
The conference highlighted major opportunities in the large-scale export of green hydrogen as a
potential way forward. Green hydrogen and its derivatives were a major topic of discussion during
the conference – especially its enormous potential for the Middle East.
The United Arab Emirates has already announced its ambition to capture 25% of the global market
for hydrogen, while Saudi Arabia aims to become the world's No. 1 supplier. A total of 46 green
hydrogen projects are already underway in the Middle East and Africa, with Oman (11 projects), the
United Arab Emirates (9) and Egypt (7) leading the way.
“The Middle East can play a key role in addressing the new priorities of Europe’s energy transition,
through the export of green hydrogen and other potential mega projects focusing on crosscontinent transmission of sustainable energy” said Pierre Samaties, Partner at global management
consultancy Roland Berger.
Hydrogen could also be the key to decarbonizing the region's economies, which are currently
strongly focused on fossil fuels, and to decreasing today's reliance on income from fossil fuels,
especially in countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.
The Middle East and Africa Energy Week, held from June 27-29, 2022, is part of a series of
conferences taking place in different regions globally. During the event, 2,000+ participants actively
engaged in discussions, opinion polls and questions. They were also surveyed on the importance of
major energy priorities and the progress made towards the energy transition.