Energy and Environment Partnership Trust Fund (EEP Africa) has financed 43 minigrid projects in 10 countries in Southern and Eastern Africa. Their recently published report Opportunities and Challenges in the Mini-grid Sector in Africa draws lessons from the EEP Africa portfolio and explains that infrastructure financing and regulatory environments are the main ‘make-or-break’ contributors to mini-grid bankability. Here we highlight key findings from the report:
Mini-grids in the EEP Africa portfolio are not only generating high-quality AC grid power, providing 24/7 electricity services, but also creating jobs and boosting local economy:
Switching from fossil fuels to renewable energy is an important and necessary step towards averting climate change. However, in our efforts to go green, we also need to be mindful of other consequences, both intended and unintended – and that includes how a mass deployment of renewable technology might affect its surrounding climate.
What if the Sahara desert was turned into a giant solar and wind farm, for instance? This is the topic of new research published in Science by Yan Li and colleagues. They found that all those hypothetical wind turbines and solar panels would make their immediate surroundings both warmer and rainier, and could turn parts of the Sahara green for the first time in at least 4,500 years.
"We must show a greater sense of urgency because what is at stake is the global relevance, social progress and economic productivity of Africa's nearly 1 billion people," urged Amadou Hott, Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth at the African Development Bank."Children are growing up without electricity. Energy powers economies and every delay in power project execution keep our people in darkness…Projects need to be implemented effectively so that people get power, and investors get risk-adjusted returns and consumers can pay affordable prices for their power supplies," Hott said.
The Bank is positioning the AIF, scheduled for South Africa, 7-9 November 2018, as a platform to improve the ease of doing business in Africa by advancing and promoting investment friendly regulations. AIF will also champion ethical business practices in Africa. Speaking at a roadshow on the AIF held in Abuja, the Special Advisor to the Nigerian President and Coordinator of the country’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) Unit, Folarin Ayalande, assured that Nigeria was ready for investment but lack of affordable and long-term finance remain a major constraint.