The renewAfrica Initiative presented to EC’s EVP Frans Timmermans

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The renewAfrica Initiative was today presented to Frans Timmermans, the European Commission’s executive vice-president for the European Green Deal.

By the end of the meeting, which saw the participation of CEOs and high-level representatives of 18 of the most important international companies and organisations active in the renewable energy sector, EVP Timmermans appreciated that the Initiative is in line with the green ambitions of the European Commission and welcomed the work of renewAfrica so far as a positive contribution to the EU’s Comprehensive Strategy with Africa.

The renewAfrica Initiative has been structured to implement PPPs, so to create a level playing field for European industry and investors.

In this regard, the Initiative will contribute to add value to existing European financial instruments, so to mobilise the scale of public and private capital necessary to the creation of a pipeline of sustainable and bankable renewable energy projects in Africa. renewAfrica stems from the need of an EU-led programme that should offer end-to-end support along the entire project cycle, assist with high-level policy dialogue, provide technical assistance to national governments, and offer financial de-risking and capacity building measures. For the programme to be fully effective, it should avoid limitations in terms of the supported technology, geographical area and size of the project, thus mobilising private capital and unlocking bankable renewable energy projects across Africa. renewAfrica’s task forces have elaborated a proposal, identifying possible pilot countries, outlining a set of technical assistance services, and elaborating a financial package to cover the major investments risks. The Initiative has now reached the point where it can contribute to the EU green diplomacy objectives in Africa.

“We are very proud to present today the result of the effort carried out since the launch of renewAfrica Initiative, gathering the contribution of the players of the European renewable industry”, explains Antonio Cammisecra, President of the renewAfrica Initiative.

“We believe that a programme as innovative as renewAfrica can play its role in the process towards the sustainable economic development in Africa, in accordance with the European vision of a more inclusive and just future”.

“There is enormous growth potential in Africa, and access to energy will be a major factor in determining the speed and fairness of this growth. Today, wind or solar technologies can generate electricity at historically low costs and can often be deployed at a local level, without needing extensive grids that span large distances. It is great see the private sector embrace promising opportunities for investments, innovation and development in Africa. With the Africa Europe Green Energy Initiative, as part of the EU’s new Strategy with Africa, we want to help deliver more sustainable energy and match the growing energy needs of Africa” comments Frans Timmermans, EVP of the European Commission.

Driven by the fast demographic and economic growth, Africa’s energy demand is rapidly increasing; yet, some 600 million people in the continent still do not have access to electricity. Renewables today represent the fastest and cheapest way of satisfying energy needs; however, while global installed RES generation capacity more than doubled in the last decade, only 2% of new generation was installed in Africa. Universal electricity access requires an increase of $120 billion investments per year up to 2040, and classic public financing channels will not suffice in mobilising such capital. So far, various kinds of barriers have limited the continent’s attractiveness in the eyes of international private investors, thus slowing its progress with the renewable energy transition. Moreover, a very good range of European financing instruments exist in the market; however, many of them are characterised by fragmentation in terms of support offered, reducing their effectiveness in achieving the expected impact.

The ultimate aim of the renewAfrica Initiative is to support African countries in achieving access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy. Moreover, renewables will be fundamental in creating a new, sustainable and carbon-neutral economy leapfrogging polluting technologies. But far from just providing power and cutting emissions, Africa’s renewable energy potential also provides the opportunity to create decent jobs, boost industrialisation, kick-off a broader and more inclusive socio-economic growth, and support countries in meeting their commitments on the Sustainable Development Goals as well as the Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement.

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