Five African countries shine a light on renewables as they deliver powerful investment pitches at the Africa Energy Marketplace


Five African countries presented their investment cases at the recent Africa Energy Marketplace, which brought together governments, the private sector and development partners, to highlight strategic projects and key energy sector reforms. The countries’ pitches also emphasized the scale of renewable resources among their key priorities.

The theme of the fifth African Energy Marketplace, held virtually between 26 and 29 October, was Identifying opportunities across the energy value chain: Resolving bottlenecks and unlocking investments in CameroonGuineaKenyaMozambique, and Tunisia.

Cameroon announced that it had launched an agency to manage the public electricity transmission system, Société National de Transport de l’Electricité, or SONATREL, to support its vision for attracting investment of around $10.6 billion to deliver on its energy targets. “If we are able to develop robust transmission infrastructure, we should be able to achieve universal access to electricity,” said Gaston Eloundou Essomba, the country’s Minister of Water and Energy. The planned national energy mix is 80% hydro, 14% gas, and 6% from solar, wind and biomass.

Sékou Sanfina Diakite, Guinea’s interim Secretary General for the Ministry of Energy, said the country is ready to become an electricity trading hub in the region, thanks to different interconnection projects currently under construction in the country. It aspires to become completely reliant on hydro and solar energy.

Guinea’s aim is to export electricity in the sub-region, outlining the plan launched by the West Africa Power Pool to establish Electricité de Guinée as the transmission system operator for the region’s Zone 5, which includes Sierra Leone and Liberia.

In the discussions on Kenya, the pivotal issues included the need to urgently rebalance risks in power purchase agreements that have resulted in high tariffs for end users, calls for accelerated reforms, and models to scale up electricity access.

Mark Carrato, coordinator of USAID’s Power Africa program, said Kenya could potentially attract diverse sources of investment. “An essential transmission line with a greater return would draw national pension funds, and there are big pots of money out there we have just not tapped enough,” he said

Dr Antonio Saide, CEO of FUNAE (Fundo de Energia(le lien est externe)) Mozambique announced that the government had recently launched the first call for applications for green mini-grid initiatives, under the BRILHO program. The program aims to accelerate Mozambique’s off-grid energy market by providing selected companies with a unique mix of structured non-reimbursable funding and specialized technical support, to de-risk business models to achieve competitive commercial returns and provide off-grid energy solutions to low-income markets. Other Mozambique roundtables were a blend of transactional and policy-related sessions, focusing on how the country can achieve its ambition of becoming a regional energy powerhouse in the Southern African Development Community, and achieve universal access by 2030. The government said sector reforms and major regional infrastructure were essential, such as the transmission interconnectors between TanzaniaZambiaAngolaNamibia, and MozambiqueMalawi.

Further north, the Tunisian Solar Plan has become a key part of Tunisia’s recovery plans. “It is imperative to restore Tunisia’s energy independence, as the country has witnessed growing – and expensive – deficits in its energy balance over the past two decades,” said Belhassen Chiboub, the Director General in the Ministry of Energy. To address this, the government launched the Tunisian Solar Plan in 2017 and established a 3.8GW target for total installed renewable energy capacity by 2030, representing a ten-fold increase in capacity at an estimated annual cost of around $400 million.

Stakeholders who attended the sessions included Power Africa, the European Investment Bank, Africa50, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the European Union, the World Bank, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, Agence Francaise de Développement, German development agency GIZ, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Africa Infrastructure Development Association (AfIDA), the Islamic Investment Bank and IRENA.

African Development Bank Vice President Dr. Kevin Kariuki observed that following the 4th edition held in 2020, which targeted the G5 Sahel countries under the Desert to Power Initiative, this year’s AEMP focused on five African countries selected based on geographical balance, demand, and readiness for private sector investments in the power sector. He noted that the four-day AEMP discussed key issues, including sector planning and reforms, renewable energy generation expansion, financial and energy access sustainability, off-grid, and power trade. “The AEMP culminated in the presentation of implementable action plans with firm commitments agreed between the various stakeholders to support the scale-up of private sector investments in the five countries,” he said.

The Africa Energy Market Place is a collaborative investment platform created by the African Development Bank as part of the New Deal on Energy for Africa, the transformative partnership to light up and power Africa, in keeping with the Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities.

SOURCE African Development Bank (AfDB)


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