Only one-third of increase in Africa electricity demand met by renewables.

Renewables supplied only a third of Africa’s electricity demand growth in 2020 according to energy think tank Ember’s The Global Electricity Review.

The Global Electricity Review showed that wind and solar showed resilient growth in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. While this forced a record fall in global power figures, this was not mirrored in Africa.

The report revealed that almost a tenth of global electricity was generated by wind and solar power in 2020. Morocco and Kenya were clear leaders in the wind and solar sectors, already ahead of the world average. But, data from 2014 to 2019 shows that only a third of the rise in Africa’s electricity demand was met by renewable power sources, the rest of the rising demand was met by fossil gas.

Morocco and Kenya showed the highest levels of wind and solar energy production to meet electricity demand growth. They respectively generated 16% and 15% of their electricity from wind and solar in 2019. Morocco has achieved a rapid uptake of solar power, increasing from almost zero in 2015 to 4% of electricity supplied in 2019. It also increased its wind generation capacity from 9% of electricity in 2015 to 12% in 2019.




7 May 2021


Africa needs financial support to adapt to climate change.

Financial support for Africa to adapt to climate change is crucial, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said as he addressed an online dialogue for leaders convened by the African Development Bank (AfDB).

He appealed for greater action to provide renewable energy to the hundreds of millions who still lack reliable and affordable electricity. “As the continent that has contributed least to the climate crisis, Africa deserves the strongest possible support and solidarity,” said Guterres.

Pointing out that although Africa has abundant and untapped renewable resources, it has received just 2% of global investment in renewable energy over the past decade, warning that “adaptation must not be the neglected half of the climate equation”.

Old models of development and energy use have failed to provide Africans with universal energy access, he said, meaning hundreds of millions of people still lack reliable and affordable electricity or are cooking with polluting and harmful fuels.

“We can provide universal access to energy in Africa primarily through renewable energy. I call for a comprehensive package of support to meet this objective ahead of COP26,” Guterres said, referring to the UN climate change conference in November.

“It is achievable. It is necessary. It is overdue. And it is smart: climate action is a $3 trillion investment opportunity in Africa by 2030,” he added.

Major finance gap between climate finance commitment and action

The secretary-general pointed to “the major finance” gap blocking progress towards this goal. He urged developed countries to deliver on their $100 billion climate commitment more than a decade ago.

“Developed countries and main financers must ensure a swift shift of the billions to support African green investments, to increase resilience and to create the conditions for scaled-up private finance. And the private sector must step up and get organised to provide immediate, concrete solutions to governments. Local authorities can work with unions and community leaders on reskilling and social security nets,” said Guterres.

While African governments also can lead the way by committing to ambitious adaptation and mitigation plans, they first need to regain their fiscal autonomy, he said. The UN chief stressed the need to extend the debt moratorium for developing countries, made last year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and even cancelling debts where appropriate.

Guterres said he thought Special Drawing Rights, a type of supplementary foreign reserve maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), should be made available to support Africa’s economic recovery.

Africa’s new infrastructure needs to be able to adapt to shocks

Even as the AfDB has worked with its regional member countries to fight the negative effects of climate change, the Bank has also been urging them to build infrastructure that is adapted and resilient to climate shocks.

Africa has lost billions of dollars in infrastructure and thousands of people due to cyclones and storms in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi in 2019 alone. Floods in 2020 led to hundreds of deaths and thousands of internally displaced persons in the Sahel.

The AfDB believe Africa can mitigate the consequences of such climate shocks by building more resilient infrastructure and strengthening early warning and climate watch mechanism. Thus, the Bank encourages its regional members to integrate the “climate shock” dimension into the construction of essential infrastructure such as roads, bridges, stations, dams and airports.

Al-Hamadou Dorsouma, head of the AfDB’s Climate and Green Growth Division confirmed that African needs to build infrastructures that are resilient to climate shock: “This is all the more important as this destruction amounts to billions of dollars. If these infrastructures had been built on a climate resilience scheme, they would have better withstood cyclones, storms and flood.

“It is important for Africa, whose future infrastructure over a 50-year horizon has not yet been built, to strengthen its resilience and secure its investments in this sector,” said Dorsouma.




7 April 2021


AFRICA: EIB commits 340m euros for water and renewable energy in 5 countries.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is approving €340 million for water and renewable energy in Africa. The loans are for the construction of sustainable infrastructure in Mali, Chad, Guinea, Malawi and Comoros.

The European Investment Bank (EIB) funding was announced in the margins of an EU-Africa forum co-organised by the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) and the EIB. The bulk of the funding, €300 million, is for the electricity interconnection between Guinea and Mali. This project is part of the West African Power Pool (WAPP) of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Under the EIB-financed project, WAPP will construct a 225 kV double-circuit AC power line, approximately 714 km long, from Sanankoroba in Mali to Nzérékoré in Guinea (via Fomi in Guinea). The project also includes the installation of transformer stations in Siguiri, Fomi, Kankan, Kérouane, Beyla and N’Zérékoré (in Guinea) and Sanankoroba (in Mali).

Electricity from the Souapiti hydroelectric plant

The electricity injected into Mali’s national grid is generated from the Souapiti hydroelectric plant, recently commissioned in Guinea. The 550 MW facility operates from a dam built on the Konkoure River by China International Water & Electric Corporation (CWE).

According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), which is co-financing the electricity interconnection between Guinea and Mali, the aim of the project is to increase the availability of electricity in both countries and strengthen the establishment of the regional electricity market in West Africa, in line with the Master Plan adopted in 2012 by ECOWAS heads of state.

Financing electrification via the off-grid

The EIB is also providing funding for off-grid solar electrification in Chad and Comoros. The funding is for the off-grid provider InnoVent, which is expanding its services in Africa, particularly south of the Sahara. This solution is particularly deployed in Chad to accelerate access to electricity in rural or semi-urban areas.

Part of the EIB’s funding is dedicated to the provision of drinking water in Malawi. According to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), 4 million people in this East African country do not have access to drinking water. Currently, the efforts of Malawian authorities and development finance institutions are also directed towards hygiene and sanitation. In Malawi, only 6% of the population has access to a sanitation facility. This leads to open defecation, which is a vector for diseases such as cholera.



27 April 2021

Afrik 21

Nigeria Bets on Solar to Power Its Covid Recovery.

Suleiman Babamanu is implementing the country’s largest investment in solar energy.

Suleiman Babamanu’s path to the heart of Nigeria’s biggest solar power program started in disappointment.

After university he worked as a trainee geoscientist for a unit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. A job in the industry—Nigeria is Africa’s biggest oil producer—would have been a traditional route, and a lucrative one. But he couldn’t find employment.

This was about 2010, when the growth of clean energy around the world made it start to seem like a potential career path. The industry hadn’t gained much traction in Nigeria, and he set aside the idea, until a conversation with a relative persuaded him to reconsider.

“A cousin told me not to go where the money is but where the money is going,” he says. “I immediately changed my mind and applied for a master’s degree in renewable energy, and I got a scholarship.” That sent him to Newcastle University in the U.K. and then on to a range of public and private jobs in his home country’s renewables industry, including projects that had received World Bank funding.

Now he’s implementing Nigeria’s largest investment in solar power, part of the country’s Covid economic recovery plan. The project, Solar Power Naija, is also a step toward solving one of Nigeria’s biggest problems: a lack of reliable electricity.

Under the Paris Climate Agreement, Nigeria has pledged to cut carbon emissions 20% by 2030. To get there, it aims to generate 30% of its energy from renewables. To make progress, 10% of the government’s 2.3 trillion naira ($5.6 billion) of spending to spur recovery from the pandemic will be used to install 5 million solar home systems. The aim is to provide electricity to 25 million people in rural communities that now have no access to the grid.

With Solar Power Naija, the government is aiming to fix the development problems that a lack of access to electricity has created, as well as the pollution that fuel-powered generators, one of the most popular power sources, cause.

“Rural communities, the companies, and people that are using generators or even candles would have access to a cleaner and more efficient power supply,” Babamanu says. “Emissions will be greatly reduced.”

The rollout will focus on building standalone connections, which use solar panels to charge batteries that can then be used at any time, and minigrids, which operate in a similar way but can service larger needs. Both will function separately from the national grid.

The project will also give bidders from across the industry low-interest government loans instead of contracts or grants to finance the equipment and construction—a departure from Nigeria’s normal approach to electrification. Companies will repay what they’ve borrowed with income from customers.

“It’s good that the government is trying to use renewables not just as a tool for solving the energy problem but also for poverty alleviation,” says Adedeji Adeniran, a senior fellow at the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa in Abuja. “This shows it’s taking the sustainable agenda seriously.”



8 April 2021

Bloomberg Green