The Push for Africa’s Base Line for Renewable Energy

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African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina is championing the cause of renewable energy in Africa, emphasizing the continent’s vast energy potential. During his keynote address at the Africa Climate Summit on September 4th, he stressed that the prosperity of every economy is intrinsically linked to the energy it generates.

Adesina highlighted Africa’s underutilized energy resources, including abundant solar capacity (11 terawatts), hydro (350 gigawatts, with only a small fraction harnessed), wind (110 gigawatts, with minimal usage), and geothermal energy sources (15 gigawatts). Despite this potential, 600 million people on the continent still lack access to electricity, and the absence of clean energy has dire consequences, leading to around 300,000 women losing their lives each year due to unsafe cooking practices.

The urgent need to achieve universal energy access, harness Africa’s energy potential, and combine renewable energy sources for energy security and affordability was at the forefront of Adesina’s message.

Mauritanian Abdeslam Saleh, Minister of Economic and Sustainable Development, echoed similar sentiments, underlining the importance of political support in mainstreaming energy access. Mauritania is actively involved in the Desert to Power initiative, aiming to leverage the abundant solar power potential in the Sahel region.

Malawi’s energy minister, Ibrahim Matola, emphasized the role of renewable energy in driving innovation and delivering energy access to Africa’s population. He stressed the need for innovative storage solutions to address transmission and distribution losses, which cost the continent $5 billion annually.

Simon Harford, Chief Executive Officer of the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), emphasized the significance of large-scale storage for the adoption of renewable energy. He pledged his organization’s commitment to supporting African governments as they integrate renewable energy into their development plans.

The high-level panel discussion was moderated by African Development Bank Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate, and Green Growth, Dr. Kevin Kariuki. The African Development Bank is actively participating in the climate talks in Nairobi, Kenya, which will conclude on September 8, 2023. The discussions at the Africa Climate Summit have shed light on the urgent need to tap into Africa’s renewable energy potential to achieve energy security, economic growth, and sustainability.

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  • Samson Adeyemo

    An experienced broadcast and print media journalist with nose for news and proven track records of success without compromising objectivity.

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