Scaling up Renewable Energy Investments in Africa
Enel Foundation and RES4Africa Foundation launched the third edition of their joint Flagship Publication in July 2020 at a digital event, attended by representatives of European and African institutions, as well as renewable energy industry experts.
“Scaling up Africa’s Renewable Power” focuses on the importance of de-risking renewable energy investments to unlock Africa’s growth potential. The study offers an analysis of the reasons why the African electricity market is perceived as a risky investment, while also mapping a way towards a resilient and sustainable development.
Extensive research has already showed how Africa’s growth potential is highly linked to the development of renewable energy to sustainably meet its future electricity needs, greatly intensified by an expected urbanization and increase of population density in the next ten years. This decade of action needs to see real progress achieved soon, as well as new impetus on possible solutions to crowd-in renewable energy investments at scale.
As public budgets alone will not be able to cope with future energy needs, private investments will have to fill the gap, but as long as there’s reluctance to enter African renewable energy markets due to high risk perception - particularly in relation to regulatory and policy frameworks and financing - the pace of progress will keep being slow. De-risking mechanisms are thus fundamental and necessary to attract private investments at scale.
The landscape of currently running de-risking programs is overcrowded and deemed inadequate to fulfil market requirements and to achieve scale. A comprehensive and inclusive toolkit based on cooperation for end-to-end risk mitigation, has to be found and applied accordingly. The renewAfrica Initiative represents an EU-Africa partnership effort that aims to fill existing gaps by combining current programs and offering targeted services to lower risks in Africa’s renewable energy investments.
Education plays a key role in this sense, as advanced training, skill-creation, knowledge sharing and leadership exchange activities represent fundamental tools to empower a new generation of clean energy leaders able to support the progressive decarbonisation of Africa’s energy sector.
Programs such as Open Africa Power perfectly embody this cooperative approach, affording the chance to young local talents, international partners and key experts from the private field to meet and have a real conversation about what can be done for the future sustainable development of the continent. Education and capacity building, together with access to finances and a right governance, are pivotal to trigger the necessary transformations to achieve a decabornized, resilient and sustainable electric system at a national scale.
Ernesto Ciorra, General Manager of Enel Foundation, commented: “We are very proud of our African alumni: fostering a young generation of African leaders that possesses the skills and the education to accelerate the African Energy transition is the aim of our Foundations’ initiatives, but what is most important is that these young leaders stay in Africa, don’t contribute to the diaspora but rather give back to their communities: they empower African sustainable progress.”