The African Energy Chamber (AEC), in partnership with the United Nations (UN) Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the Secretariat of Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), held the soft launch on Thursday for the Team-Energy Africa initiative, aimed at mobilizing private sector financing for accelerated clean energy deployment across Africa. During the launch – which served as a prelude to the high-level launch to be held in Kigali, Rwanda on May 17-19, 2022 – parties provided insight into the mission and vision of the initiative, the context in which the initiative was born and the next steps to be taken.
Present at the launch was Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the ECA; Tracey Crowe, Chief of Staff, Sustainable Energy for All representing Damilola Ogunbiyi, the CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy; NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman, African Energy Chamber; Linus Mofor, Senior Environmental Affairs Officer, African Climate Policy Center, ECA; Abdur Omidiya, Executive President, West Africa, AEC; and Nakedi Ramaphakela, CFO, African Rainbow and Energy.
“Africa has abundant energy sources. Looking at renewables alone, we have 20,000 MW of geothermal, 350,000 MW of hydro, 110,000 MW of wind and abundant solar irradiation. Yet about 590 million go without access to electricity,” stated Mofor. “African countries need plenty of secure, affordable and reliable energy if we are to recover from the pandemic, provide better health and education, industrialize and utilize the free trade area, and boost economic growth and reduce poverty. This is the paradox of the energy situation. We are looking at an investment of $500 billion. Where is that going to come from? That is the idea of Team-Energy Africa.”
The Team-Energy Africa initiative centers on three overarching pillars, namely: sustainability, governance and finance. By supporting countries that embrace sustainability and address key governance challenges to unlock private sector clean energy investment, Team-Energy Africa is committed to unlocking critical capital, fostering an enabling environment for investment in Africa, and ushering in a new era of energy access and growth while accelerating Africa’s energy transition.
“We all need to talk about the importance of energy for the continent. In forums, we always hear international players coming to do business on our continent. We should be a part of that conversation and in the room. We can take some important conversations to Cairo. One conversation will be around gas. We need to go to COP27 to talk about this. For us, it is not just a question about energy, but also about industrialization and job creation. We need to look at these from an African perspective and we need a team with the private sector in the room,” stated Songwe.
Recognizing the persistent energy crisis present in Africa, in which nearly 600 million lack access to electricity and 900 million lack access to clean cooking, the initiative serves as a catalyst for transformative private sector investments in clean energy under the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 7: to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.
“In less than eight years, we must achieve SDG7. Access to clean and affordable energy underpins other sustainable development goals. As we plan for a global energy transition, we must put people first. The transition must be just, equitable and inclusive. Countries must be able to identify their own pathways to develop a least-cost approach to the transition,” stated Crowe. “Energy access and economic growth must go hand in hand. Governments also need to ensure policy and enabling environments are in place. We also need mechanisms to allow investment, of which a significant amount must come from the private sector, ensuring adequate and timely capital is available for energy solutions.”
“Climate change is a reality. Its effects are being felt worldwide. Renewable energy is fast-changing and technologies are progressing quickly. A change in policy can support global decarbonization efforts. We support the effort to solve Africa’s energy challenges with innovative solutions that are driven by Africans,” stated Ramaphakela.
Team-Energy Africa aims to unite African investors and partners to accelerate financing of Africa’s clean energy transformation. Emphasizing the role of the private sector as an engine of growth, productivity, innovative financing and inclusivity, the initiative brings together Africa’s private sector and investors in clean energy to join forces and work with member states, development partners and international financiers to mobilize much-needed clean energy finance.
“Team-Energy Africa has been given a mandate – to be the SDG7 accelerator from concept to commission. The initiative is to be the single-point integrator of energy stakeholders in Africa. The stakeholders are the public and private sector, government institutions and academic institutions, private investors, and corporate investors. We need to get Africa to believe in the dream of Africa, invest in Africa, and encourage others to invest. We need to engage all of these stakeholders in a structure and ensure projects come to execution and commission in time,” stated Omidiya.
Concluding the launch, Ayuk stated: “The time is now. We need a fierce urgency of now when it comes to making energy poverty history. For once, we have the private sector coming together with the public sector on a bigger scale. Let’s seize this moment to really drive something that works and commit ourselves to action. There is a lot of money in Africa. There are a lot of young people. Do not wait for others to come to do it. We have started and we are not holding back.”