Renewable energy critical driver of post-COVID-19 Recovery

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Renewable energy critical driver of post-COVID-19 Recovery
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A Renewable energy will be a critical driver of Africa’s post-  COVID-19 growth recovery and economic prosperity, panellists at this year’s ‘United Kingdom (UK) Africa Investment Summit’ said.

They called for a stronger partnership between the UK and Africa.

The panel, themed ‘UK & Africa: Partnering in Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Development, covered discussion of British innovation and experience in the context of partnering Africa to advance its economic development.

The UK Africa Investment Summit, hosted by the UK Department for International Trade, brought together the UK and African businesses to explore the opportunities for partnership and investment.

A statement obtained Tuesday, quoted panel members as saying that investment in large-scale electrification projects would be key.

“African countries are building back better from the coronavirus. This presents an unalloyed opportunity for UK investors to be part of the African success story and for African countries to access the UK’s support for projects,” CEO, UK Export Finance, Louis Taylor, said.

According to him, the UK is still the ultimate one-stop-shop as  UK Government is still the largest G7 investor in Africa.

He noted that UK Export Finance would provide a £1.7 billion guarantee to support the development of Cairo monorail in Egypt – the UK’s biggest ever overseas infrastructure guarantee.

According to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA), scaling up Africa’s capacity to achieve universal access to energy by 2030 would require over $100 billion yearly, of which 40 per cent would be dedicated to solar, wind, and other low-carbon power generation projects.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has taken the lead in accelerating the electrification of the continent through its New Deal on Energy for Africa, a transformative partnership-based strategy that aims to increase access to energy for all Africans.

“Building on the City of London’s deep expertise in innovative financial solutions, the AfDB sees promising opportunities to further expand its program to securitise receipts from solar home systems providers,” AfDB’s Director for Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulation, Wale Shonibare, said.

Shonibare called for a structured approach to sustainable infrastructure development and the implementation of large-scale electrification programs, citing the Bank’s Desert to Power initiative as an example of a project likely to attract interest from UK businesses.

Business Development Director of UK-based NMS Infrastructure Ltd, Nicholas Oliver, urged investors to engage more actively with local companies. “We need to create partnerships with governments and local businesses. It is a great time to invest in Africa. The African Development Bank estimates that climate change presents a $3 trillion investment by 2030. What an opportunity,” he said.

Similarly, the Co-Managing Director of African Infrastructure Investment Managers, an infrastructure investment management firm, Olusola Lawson, noted the urgent need for access to energy in centers of high demand.

“In Africa, you can’t have transition without electrification. In this context, what we see is the trend from centralized large-scale power plants to a more distributive system,” Lawson said.

The UK has been a strong partner to the AfDB in the institution’s drive to attract greater private sector participation in African infrastructure investment. The Bank is currently working with a number of UK institutions to improve the enabling environment for infrastructure development in Africa.

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