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Africa’s Future Counts: Renewables and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus

Africa’s Future Counts: Renewables and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus


RES4Africa Foundation Annual Flagship Publication 2019, written in collaboration with Enel Foundation, is dedicated to the Water-Energy-Food Nexus and how it reveals opportunities to overcome Africa's energy access gaps. “Africa’s Future Counts: Renewables and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus” aims to contribute to an enabling environment for renewable energy investments by leveraging on international and cross-sectoral partnerships investing on the Water-Energy-Food (WEF) Nexus approach to accelerate energy access and, as a consequence, sustainable development in Africa.

The publication was first presented in June at the RES4Africa Foundation Annual Conference, held for the first time on African soil in Addis Ababa. Its objectives are on the one hand to share knowledge, and on the other to launch a call for action to speed up progress towards the 2030 Agenda.

The supply systems of water, energy and food are highly interlinked. For instance, a great amount of energy is needed to extract, process and distribute water, and food requires both energy and water to be supplied and grown. This cycle, even the more important in a continent whose economic heart lies in the agricultural sector, unveils how energy acts as an enabler of increased food security, agricultural productivity and improved access and management of water resources for private and industrial uses. The WEF Nexus then has the potential to turn sustainable development on its head and drive socio-economic growth all over the continent by fostering new agricultural opportunities that can in turn lead to progress in other fields. The publication highlights in fact how the sectors of water, energy and food act among themselves with a multiplier effect, ensuring a greater return of investment and therefore providing a greater attraction for cross-sectoral investment, as suggested by Antonio Cammisecra, President of RES4Africa Foundation and CEO of Enel Green Power, and Roberto Vigotti.

 The Publication is divided in three parts, discussing Africa’s energy gap, the WEF Nexus, and then closing up with a call for action. The edition also includes four visionary statements from Amani Abou-Zeid, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy at the African Union Commission, Kofi Annan, Founder and Chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation and Former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

Africa needs a better planning of energy supply, and stronger legal, regulatory and institutional frameworks to facilitate deployment of renewable energy technologies, as well as innovative financing tools to accelerate renewable energy infrastructure, among others. Through this flagship publication, RES4Africa and Enel Foundation invite energy actors to team up and explore partnership opportunities with other sectors, looking for a complementarity of objectives, know-how and comparative advantages. All actors should have an interest in cooperating to strengthen their presence and operations in African markets, and to achieve the potential socio-economic spillover effects in local communities and national economies. 

“…with a little more than 10 years to reach the Sustainable Development Goals … achieving SDG7 in Africa has never been more urgent (…) The RES4Africa Foundation’s annual flagship publication represents a platform to explore innovative ideas and initiatives to reach a common objective: an electrified and prosperous Africa.”

– Francesco Starace, CEO of Enel and Chairman of Enel Foundation

Flagship Publication 2019

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