December 15, 2022
Access to clean, affordable and reliable energy is a prerequisite for Africa to realize its ambitions for human and economic prosperity. Pursuing the same common goal of ensuring universal access to energy in all African countries, during 2022, Enel Foundation and RES4Africa have been collaborating on several different projects, covering awareness raising, training and capacity building but also African grids development and policy and regulatory improvements.
The first common effort consisted of RES4Africa's 5th Flagship Publication, Sustainable Electricity for a Prosperous Africa. The report celebrated 10 years of activity of RES4Africa, and it aimed at tracing back the Foundation's achievements and milestones, while acting as a tool to raise awareness and support institutional dialogue about Africa's energy transition. It also proposed operative developments for the upcoming years, identifying some key areas of action.
As the Flagship Publication clearly outlines, one of the main priorities are the energy-related regulatory frameworks of the African continent, embodied by RES4Africa's programme Missing Link. The goal of the initiative is to accelerate the reform processes of Africa’s RE legislations, striving to enhance three intertwined dimensions: openness, attractiveness and readiness to international private investments. The programme is executed thanks to a specific analytical framework, elaborated by RES4Africa and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA); such an approach is carried out through policy analysis and discussion, capacity building and proposals of reform. The initiative, so far, has produced 16 country-focused regulatory reports, which were presented in various digital and international events; further outputs of the Missing Link are a specialised, open access analytical software (R.O.A.R), and a proposal for a Continental Regulatory Framework to Crowd-in Private Sector investments in Africa’s Electricity Markets.
Additional joint efforts were deployed in geographically-based programmes, which target some of Africa’s main energy markets. Among them, a mention is surely deserved by the Morocco and the South Africa programmes. The first one strives for supporting local efforts to accomplish the energy transition, with a special focus on partnerships between international and local actors. This is pursued through research, publication of reports and building evidence on hot topics related to Morocco's decarbonisation efforts, from renewables-based water desalinisation to agrivoltaics. Complementary to these activities are a set of policy papers, with the objective of providing evidence-based suggestions to MENA governmental institutions, as well as webinars, events and closed-door discussions with key Moroccan energy actors. Similarly, the South Africa Energy Transition programme seeks to involve RES4Africa and its members in the energy transition efforts of the country, through dedicated events (such as the RES4Africa's and CSIR joint event or the participation to Ambrosetti's CEO Forum), stakeholders' engagement, specific studies and capacity building.
This operational area is yet another pillar of the cooperation between Enel Foundation and RES4Africa. Two programmes are at the core of the common capacity building efforts: the Micro-Grid Academy and the Advanced Training Course. The first aims at creating a skilled and conscious local workforce, able to support the deployment of decentralised RE solutions in East Africa and other parts of the continent, thus enhancing access to energy in remote areas, and supporting job creation and local employment. Since June 2022, the Micro-Grid Academy held 2 sessions dedicated, respectively, to Sahel countries and to the design of decentralised renewable energy solutions, O&M, and safety, with two practical field experiences in Kenya and Ethiopia; more than 200 people from over 25 states were involved. The Advanced Training Course, instead, targets institutional members, managers and high-level professionals of Africa's RE entities, with the objective of accelerating the local energy transition, while increasing job opportunities and ownership of sustainable projects. The 59 participants of the 2022 edition were provided with a wide-scoped training on key themes of Africa's clean energy efforts, and they could also benefit from networking opportunities and much more.
Last but not least, Enel Foundation and RES4Africa collaborated on activities focussed on Africa's RE infrastructures, through the Grids4Africa initiative. Its 2022 focus has been on advocating for a greater development of local transmission and distribution grid networks, to be achieved with a close synergy between private and public actors. The programme comprised conferences and workshops, among which a gathering at the EU-Africa business forum, a session on grid development in RES4Africa’s Kenya Renewable Energy Exchange, and more.