AfDB to Invest US$12 Billion to Accelerate Electricity in Africa

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has committed itself to invest US$12 billion to speed up electricity supply in Africa, leveraging between US$45 to 50 billion from the private sector, the Bank’s Executive Director Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has said.

Speaking at an event organized by the African Union at the COP22 Village in Marrakech, Morocco, Dr. Adesina said the Bank will work with the A U and other partners to fast track the “Africa We want.” He said one aspect of the “Africa We Want” is an Africa with universal access to electricity in the next ten years.

He noted that the continent was at the forefront of the success of COP 21 in Paris last year in spite of the many challenges that it faces. “You, our leaders, led the way in supporting Africa’s efforts to solve its challenge of lack of electricity. And for good reason: Africa is tired of being in the dark. And Africa cannot develop in the dark,” the eloquent Adesina said.

“Just take a look at how lack of electricity drags down Africa’s growth and development. For decades, Africa has continued to export raw materials. As it does, it is subject to global commodity price shocks, as we are witnessing again.”

He said the reason why Africa exports raw unprocessed materials is simple: Africa does not have electricity. “Lack of access to power has pushed Africa down to the bottom of global value chains.”

Africa must “power up” itself to add value to what it produces, speed up industrialization and move to the top of global value chains, he urged. This must start with unlocking the huge amounts of energy potential on the continent, including the vast potentials in renewable and non-renewable energy, he added.

“We must ensure that Africa develops a balanced energy mix that will allow it to industrialize. Grid, mini-grid and off-grid systems will play a major role…this is why we at the AfDB have decided to do our part. We have committed ourselves to invest US$12 billion in support of accelerating electricity supply in Africa and leverage between US$45-50 billion from the private sector.”

Adesina said the Bank is rapidly building up its institutional capacity to deliver on its “light up and power” agenda for Africa.

“To drive action, the Bank has established a new Vice-Presidency for power, energy, climate and green growth, making it the first multilateral development institution to do so. The Bank is now structurally set up to drive the agenda to light up and power Africa. We are fit for purpose,” he said.

“That is why AfDB is delighted and highly support the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI).”

The goal of the AREI initiative is to unlock Africa’s renewable energy potential to deliver 10 GW of electricity by 2020 and 300 GW by 2030. It was the major outcome for Africa from COP 21 in Paris, where G7 countries committed to provide US$10 billion towards the initiative.

However, AU approved for the AREI to be moved forward quickly and decided that the Bank should be the trustee for the initiative and host the Independent Delivery Unit (IDU).

“Since the AU decision in Kigali, the Bank has moved quickly. The IDU has been established and is now fully operational and hosted within the Bank. The head of the Delivery Unit was hired in August 2016,” Adesina disclosed.

He lauded France and Germany for their continued support for this initiative. “I am delighted to inform you that just this week France paid 6 million euros to support the Independent Delivery Unit.”

At the high level segment conference, French President Francois Hollande also acknowledged the great efforts of the AfDB in moving the AREI forward and announced that France will provide 2 billion euros for the initiative. Germany also committed to provide 2 million euros.

He said COP22 is indeed becoming a COP of action. “I am looking forward to the fulfillment of the full pledge of the G7 to provide US$10 billion to the initiative. The sooner this is made available, the faster we will all make progress in achieving the goal of universal access to electricity and acceleration of the growth of renewables in Africa’s energy mix.”

He lauded President Alpha Condé of Guinea, all the African Heads of State, and Dr. Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, for their indefatigable support of the initiative.

“We must come together and move in the same direction. As approved by the African Union, the African Development Bank will continue to play its role as host and trustee of the initiative. Together, let us move the initiative forward. Let’s turn pledges on paper into projects on the ground. Let us together deliver success for Africa. Let us together light up and power Africa,” he said.

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