Africa’s renewable energy revolution must engage public and private financing partners to break down economic, political and social risks, experts agree

ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire, 17 November 2016 / PRN Africa / — At the UN’s global climate conference this week, governments and development partners came together to examine the role of financing in shaping some of Africa’s groundbreaking renewables successes such as Morocco’s Noor Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) plant.

In an event co-hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Climate Investment Funds (CIF), participants considered how the growing explosion in renewables in some African countries is being built on strategic partnerships between public and private sources of financing. 

Renewable energy has been identified as a key driver for Africa’s economic growth prospects, but requires multi-million dollar investments which cannot be provided by public financing alone. Crucial public sector funding partners like the AfDB, CIF, World Bank, and major donor countries such as Germany are helping African countries find ways to break down barriers to private investment for vital renewables industries, and examples of success are beginning to emerge.

Mustapha Bakkoury, President of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN), laid out Morocco’s use of public and private investment to shape its renewable energy revolution, citing the Noor CSP plant as a linchpin of the country’s far-reaching national plan. “Africa has legitimate energy needs, and development of Africa will happen through mobilization of its energy resources,” said Bakkoury. “We believe that there is no conflict between having energy resources and respect towards the environment, and Africa has abundant resources to do this, particularly with support from its key partners.”

Bakkoury said partners like the AfDB were instrumental in the solar energy development that has seen Morocco put up a massive solar energy plant in Noor Ouarzazate, the first of its kind in Africa and a model for African countries to follow.

In affirming AfDB’s continued commitment to universal access to energy for Africa, Alex Rugamba, AfDB Director for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, said, “the Bank’s commitment has shifted gears, and it now has a fully-fledged vice presidency dedicated to Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.” Rugamba added that the Bank has learned valuable lessons from various initiatives it is already supporting, and knows what is required to move forward with the initiatives with fewer barriers to effective investment.

CIF Head Mafalda Duarte, who co-hosted and moderated the event, noted the critical role that public sector climate finance has played in Africa. “The CIF is working very actively in Africa to support over 20 countries as they undertake energy transformation,” she stated. With implementing partners such as the AfDB and World Bank Group, the CIF has been the largest source of concessional climate finance to Africa, providing a third of its $8.3 billion financing. 

SOURCE African Development Bank (AfDB)

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