At the ICA’s 11th Annual Meeting jointly organised by the German government (Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) at its Abidjan Headquarters from November 16 to 17, 2015, the members said access to finance for investment in renewable energy projects was less of a challenge than the availability of well-prepared, bankable renewable energy projects to develop.
The open Plenary Meeting on the second day focused on ‘Implementing Renewable Energy Initiatives in Africa.’ In addition to highlighting the key role that renewable energy can play in Africa’s economic development and flagging up the need for a ‘pipeline’ of well-prepared renewable energy projects, the group also said: “Political will and commitment at the highest level was vital if Africa is to achieve a target of 300GW of renewable energy by 2030, but this must also be supported by strong institutions and frameworks that inspire confidence.”
A statement from AfDB said the meeting also agreed that “there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution for Africa’s energy challenges,” adding that: “Renewable energy, using a variety of technologies, can play a vital role in widening access to power, particularly as some technologies can be introduced rapidly.”
The role and experience of the private sector, the ICA noted, “will be vital if the 300GW of renewable energy by 2030 target is to be met.”
It added that: “Capacity building, skills improvement, job creation and the sharing of best practice were also critical factors if Africa’s target of 300GW of power from renewable energy sources by 2030 is to be achieved.”
The ICA meeting and its focus on renewable energy came a few days ahead of the UN Climate Change Conference (COP21), which will take place in Paris from November 30 to December 11, 2015.
The meeting was attended by more than 150 participants including senior officials from Germany (as Chair of the G7), the African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, the Vice-President of the African Development Bank, representatives from the Regional Economic Communities, senior African stakeholders, representatives from other international donors and key private sector players in the renewable energy sector.
The first day of the meeting restricted discussion to ICA members and invited observers. They discussed the key activities of the ICA and provided guidance about its future activity and strategic direction. The primary topic for the meeting was the ICA’s annual report, Infrastructure Financing Trends in Africa 2014, which was well received and commended. The report showed that over US$74billion was committed in 2014 to the development of Africa’s infrastructure, and that disbursements by ICA members alone reached a record level of US$13billion.
Commenting on the reaction to the report, the ICA’s Coordinator, Mohamed Hassan, said: “ICA members felt that both the scope and analysis of data was commendable, specifically the coverage of 44 countries in Africa, while the private sector survey was extremely helpful in identifying major constraints to creating an enabling environment.”