Africa clean energy funds announced in Nairobi

Written by
6 Sep 2023
Africa clean energy funds announced in Nairobi

COP28 president-designate announces $4.5 billion UAE-funded initiative, calling for leaders to improve policy and regulatory frameworks with focus on master plan for grid infrastructure integrating supply and demand; Summit sets stage for UN conference

The inaugural African Climate Summit, taking place  in Nairobi, Kenya this week, was the site of a major announcement in support of Africa’s clean energy development.

COP28, UAE & Africa

On Tuesday, Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and COP28 President-Designate, announced a UAE finance initiative that will provide US$4.5 billion to help unlock Africa's clean energy potential.

As reported by the Emirates News Agency WAM, the new initiative brings together vital public, private, and development capital from UAE institutions, notably from Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), Masdar, and AMEA Power. Africa50, which is an investment platform established by African governments and the Africa Development Bank (AfDB), has also joined the UAE finance initiative.

“The initiative will prioritise investments in countries across Africa with clear transition strategies, enhanced regulatory frameworks and a master plan for developing grid infrastructure that integrates supply and demand” said Al Jaber.

“It aims to clearly demonstrate the commercial case for clean investment across this continent.”

He has repeatedly called for the global tripling of renewable energy by 2030 and has pushed to make finance more available, accessible and affordable.

Africa’s (clean) energy crisis

Tuesday’s announcement comes days before the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is due to release the technical data around the first Global Stocktake of climate progress since the 2015 Paris Agreement. It is widely anticipated that the Stocktake will find that the world is off-track from meeting its objectives as outlined in 2015. 

Al Jaber’s announcement came with a clear call to action for African leaders to improve policy and regulatory frameworks to attract the long-term investments necessary to accelerate the deployment of clean and renewable energy.

In order to reduce barriers to investment, the President-Designate highlighted multiple action points that require the coordinated efforts of African leaders and the international community. These include restoring the financial sustainability of local utilities and modernising basic energy infrastructures, clarifying development processes and eliminating the red-tape delaying market lead-time, in addition to eliminating restrictions to capital flows and accessing adequate and affordable risk mitigation measures.

During his remarks, the COP President Designate said, “The initiative will prioritise investments in countries across Africa with clear transition strategies, enhanced regulatory frameworks and a master plan for developing grid infrastructure that integrates supply and demand.

“In short, this initiative is designed to work with Africa, for Africa. It aims to clearly demonstrate the commercial case for clean investment across this continent.

“And it will act as a scalable model that can be replicated to help put Africa on a superhighway to low carbon growth.”

Setting stage for COP28

A statement issued by African heads of state from Nairobi on Tuesday expressed their intention to collaborate with developed nations while also reminding them of their climate action commitments.

Kenyan President William Ruto said that overcoming the challenge will require concerted efforts from all players and nations. He also called for a more equitable international financial system to lessen Africa’s debt burden.

Chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, Secretary-General, United Nations António Guterres and the African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina were also present.

On her part, Ms. von der Leyen said that the Africa Climate Summit has set the stage for COP28, amplifying African voices globally and ensuring that Africa’s needs are duly acknowledged and addressed. She said a win-win outcome can only be guaranteed if all nations come together for a common goal.

The represented nations include Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, Mozambique, South Sudan, Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Libya, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Sahrawi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea and Senegal.

In sub-Saharan Africa alone, 600 million people live without access to electricity. Delivering greater access to clean energy will drive social and economic development but currently investment in African renewables represents only 2 percent of the global total, and less than a quarter of the US$60 billion a year the continent needs by 2030.

Earlier this year, Energy & Utilities reported on UAE’s Masdar moving into southern Africa with numerous renewable projects.

Energy & Utilities also reported that Infinity Power, an Emirati-Egyptian joint venture, finalized the acquisition of Lekela Power, an African focused renewable power developer.

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