Rwanda, Uganda wins funding to invest in renewable energy sector

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Rwanda and Uganda have won the funding from Climate Investment Funds (CIF) to invest in renewable energy sector.

The two nations were among other Africa nations which were chosen to receive new funding and operational support from the CIF’s Scaling up Renewable Energy in Low Income Countries Program (SREP). Each country received US$300,000 for the investment.

The African Development Bank (AfDB), one of the CIF’s five implementing agencies, worked with the countries to garner the support and will serve as implementing agency for the countries as they develop their new CIF investment plans.

“This move sends an impressive signal for change,” said SREP co-chair Erastus Wahome, representative for Kenya.

Kenya is the first country to operationalize a CIF transformational geothermal program in Africa.

Wahome noted that the additional donor support for energy transformation is a clear sign of confidence in the success already seen taking place in low-income countries in Africa and other regions, and a sign of developing countries’ continuing enthusiasm to commit to CIF-style transformation.

I am proud that Kenya has helped lead the way for this transformation,” he added.

Qualifying

An independent Expert Group was set aside to select the countries from a group of 40 countries expressing interest in joining the SREP. Some of the criteria used to select the countries included low energy access rates, existence of an enabling policy and regulatory environment, renewables-friendly energy development strategies, strong governance capacity, and capacity for implementation.

In their final decision, the SREP Sub-Committee agreed that it would provide up to US$300,000 for each country to undertake development of an SREP investment plan.

Mafalda Duarte, the new global Programme Manager of the CIF, said that the opportunity for starting a process leading to new transformational investments in low-income countries’ renewable energy sector was a positive and helpful move.

“It is now incumbent on all of us to ensure that the new pilot countries can produce investment plans which are solidly linked to their own development goals and meet CIF criteria,” Duarte noted.

Investment

Africa has been facing growing energy demand leaving the countries with no option but to invest in the renewable energy sector.

According to Renewables 2014 report, many African countries have taken initiatives seeking to expand energy access using renewable energy. Countries with electrification targets include Bangladesh, Botswana, China, Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, the Marshall Islands, Nepal, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia.

The report revealed that technological advancements and falling prices are enabling renewables to spread rapidly to new markets in rural and remote areas. Renewable energy technologies, combined with business models adapted to specific countries or regions, have proven to be reliable and affordable methods for achieving access to modern energy services, advancing quality of life, and improving human and environmental health.

Programmes

Many programmes have been set up to increase energy access in Africa like: African Bioenergy Development Platform which was launched by UNCTAD to assist interested African countries to develop their bioenergy potentials for advancing human and economic development through interactive, multi-stakeholder analytical exercises.

African Renewable Energy Alliance (AREA) is a global multi-stakeholder platform to exchange information and consult about policies, technologies, and financial mechanisms for the accelerated uptake of renewable energy in Africa.

Clean Energy for Africa (CLENA) is A Youth Volunteers for the Environment project with a five-year action plan (2012–2016) to promote sustainable energy and alleviate energy poverty in Africa.

Power Africa is a U.S. government initiative to address access to electricity in sub-Saharan Africa with a commitment of more than USD 7 billion in financial support and loan guarantees. It aims to bridge the gap between Africa’s power shortage and its economic potential.

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