Boosting Africa’s Renewable Energy Transition By De-Risking Investments

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Removing the barriers that prevent the scale-up of private investments in Africa’s renewable energy markets and the potential solutions to unlock Africa’s renewable potential are some of the main themes addressed by RES4Africa’s 2020 yearly Flagship Publication, “Scaling up Africa’s renewable power”,presented during a virtual event attended by 350 participants.

The webinar counted on the contribution of, among others, Francesco Starace, CEO of the Enel Group and Chairman of the Enel Foundation,Vera Songwe, Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and Francesco La Camera, Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency(IRENA).

Africa comes from a decade of positive socio-economic growth, also supported by a continued progress of electricity access that finally outpaced population growth between 2014 and 2018. Despite this, the road to ensure “affordable, reliable,sustainable and modern energy access for all” Africans by 2030, as stated by the UN Sustainable Development Agenda,remains challenging and may be further frustrated by the after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Renewable energy represents the most competitive and secure solution to fuel Africa’s socio-economic transformation and ensure electricity access to all African households and businesses, but investments remain well behind the required levels. Despite its enormous potential in terms of resources, Africa counts for only 2% of global renewable energy
capacity additions in the last decade. Universal electricity access requires an increase of $ 120 billion investments per year up to 2040 (IEA, 2019); however, classic public financing channels would not be able to mobilize such capital. Private investors are called to play a more prominent role in supporting the development of Africa’s electricity infrastructure and deploy resources to scale up renewable energy deployment as required.

The report thoroughly analyses the role of fit-for-purpose, effective de-risking strategies to strengthen the attractiveness of Africa’s markets for renewable investors and enable the development of bankable pipelines of renewable energy projects. With this purpose in mind, RES4Africa launched the renewAfrica Initiative, a proposal for a new European, private-led de-risking programme dedicated to supporting the development of renewables in Africa. Now backed by more than 25 organisations, renewAfrica promotes the creation of a comprehensive, one-stop-shop de-risking programme that will offer end-to-end support to partner countries and investors to speed up private sector involvement and support the build-up of greater numbers of bankable RE projects across Africa.

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