Africa’s Lack of Energy Needs a New Approach to Renewables
By admin November 22, 2016

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By the end of COP22 in Marrakech, 111 nations will have signed up to the Paris Climate Change Agreement (COP21), contributing to probably one of the most important commitments to date: fighting climate change and halting its long-term consequences. While the negotiations in Paris focused mainly on establishing targets and the main obligations that countries have to commit to after ratification – such as to limit global warming to less than 2 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels – the Marrakech Conference (COP22) was all about the details, and the importance to convince countries to sign those legislations that would make the Paris Agreement possible. Therefore, COP22 was seen by many of its participants as a great opportunity to share initiatives and to convince stakeholders of the importance of everyone’s commitment to the Agreement.

During the Conference, the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, underlined the many difficulties faced by the African continent when it comes to energy sources and that global finance mechanisms that should provide more support to Africa during its adaptation to Climate Change. He further stated, “New industries will only go to where there’s power…African industries cannot be competitive without electricity.” The AfDB took advantage of the Conference in Marrakech to highlight many important initiatives on their agenda, including the New Deal on Energy for Africa, aimed at increasing funding up to $12bn in the energy sector and the African Renewable Energy Initiative that was agreed on during the COP21 negotiations and aims to increase electricity generation from renewable power sources to 10GW by 2020.

Africa has long suffered energy scarcity and still today only one in three Africans has access to electricity, according to a recent World Bank report. According to Mr. Adesina, Africa should start to make smart use of those resources that are available and stop looking for those that it does not have. “We have limitless sunshine and great potential for wind, hydro and geothermal,” he says. In this regard, Morocco represents a front-runner among African countries as it already committed strongly to renewable energy sources, developing a solar plant in Ouarzazate and recently signing a deal to build 1720MW in new wind farm capacity.

However, Africa has to face major challenges when it comes to climate change adaptation. In fact, many natural disasters, such as floods, droughts and increasing temperatures keep threatening its villages, infrastructures and systems, which indeed require large amounts of money to be rebuilt. Developed countries have already committed $100bn towards helping developing countries to face these challenges and Africa has only received 4 per cent of the total green climate funds allocated. As a consequence, one of the main topics discussed during the Marrakech Conference has been that of dividing funds between adaptation and mitigation.

Moreover, the AfDB is pushing governments to support a new initiative that would see the creation of an African insurance fund. For the moment, only 32 countries have signed up and only seven have paid their premiums. The idea was also appreciated during the African heads of state meeting in Marrakech as a smart way to target green finance in a more efficient and better way.

Indeed, climate change can be better targeted but everyone has to play their part. “Whenever these drastic climate events like drought, flood or extreme temperature happen, the world has words of comfort for Africa…But words of comfort cannot pay the bills and rebuild when problems start,” Mr. Adesina concluded.

For more information:

Embassy of Morocco – Energy

Morocco lights the way for Africa on renewable energy

Almost two thirds of climate fund for developing nations already pledged

Africa needs more funding for adaptation

Why Morocco is leading the charge against climate change


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