ECA, NSIF to grow Africa’s clean energy capacity by 10,000MW
London, Feb. 25, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and Nigeria Sovereign Investment Fund (NSIF) are collaborating to raise Africa’s electricity capacity by 10,000 megawatts by 2025.
The electricity will come mainly in the form of clean and affordable energy, including solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal.
The ECA and Nigeria Sovereign Investment Fund will be joined by the investment firm PIMCO, Associating Africa50 and the Development Bank of Southern Africa to actualise the initiative.
The ECA, according to documents obtained by The Nation, has invited a host of African Heads of State and Ministers to join this compact to bring more clean energy to Africa.
This initiative the ECA said, “has already begun to scope the clean energy project and investment opportunities in a number of countries, including Ethiopia, Senegal, Kenya, Togo, South Africa, and Morocco.”
Some will be “pure public sector, others will be the private sector, and some public-private in nature.”
For local and international investors, especially those with a sustainability mindset, the group believes these opportunities present in the initiative “will be compelling – both in terms of risk-adjusted returns as well as the positive social and environmental impacts.”
The ECA said: “nearly 600 million Africans (about half the population) lack access to electricity, with 110 million of those living in urban areas-all within proximity of existing power grids.”
Failures and inefficiencies in energy transmission infrastructure, combined with high costs of last-mile connections to rural communities and other factors, the ECA said, mean that many Africans are moving off-grid.
By moving off-grid, many Africans, they argue, are “choosing expensive options like generators and in some instances constructing home and mini-grid solar systems in their communities.”
While the ECA and the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Fund are not totally against these energy innovations, “they are in the end an unsustainable solution on a continent where the pace of electrification will in no way keep up with rapid population growth.”
According to the ECA, “the development imperative is that building the energy sector, at scale, is critical for the realisation of the regions Agenda 2063 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)-given the severe and chronic shortages of electric power. However, not all energy is created equal-or results in the same sustainability outcomes.”
The group is excited “that while many countries in Africa continue to generate the majority of their power from fossil fuels, including dirty coal, a clean-energy revolution is quickly gripping the continent with already close to 9,000 megawatts of non-hydro renewable power (mostly solar and wind) online in 20 countries.”