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IAER: an example of North-South cooperation

Despite its huge energy potential, Africa lacks financing to invest in renewable energies. To achieve this goal, the African Initiative for renewable energy (AIRE), launched in December 2015, enjoyed support from technical and financial partners at COP 22 in Morocco.


Designed by Africans for Africans, this initiative aims above all to highlight the continent’s inexhaustible resources in terms of renewable energies, thus achieving the countries’ development goals. It has enjoyed support from development partners who undertook to mobilize at least $ 10 billion. This initiative will provide clean, safe and affordable energy to the 640 million people who currently lack it in the continent.

« Our ambition is to provide 300 GW of electricity. It’s enough as we must bring satisfaction to as many people as possible and any type of renewable energy must be promoted, » said Sokona Youba, alternate chair of the Intergovernmental expert group on Climate Change (IPCC) and one of the project’s promoters.

North-South funding

To support this action, western technical and financial partners undertook to boost North-South cooperation. In this vein, France and the African Development Bank (ADB) signed an agreement in Abidjan in November 2016 for € 6 million to establish a project implementation unit.

« I welcome the French contribution very favorably and I hope this commitment will be an important catalyst for other parties to help us meet our funding targets as we strive to meet Africa’s future energy needs, » said Frannie Léautier, Senior Vice-President of ADB at the signing of the financing agreement.

According to an ADB statement, this funding will help map renewable energy development initiatives and programs and identify new projects. It will also help monitor priority projects on sustainable development in Africa by 2020. By the same token, Germany has allocated € 2 million. Other traditional partners of the continent have also joined the project which will have to play a crucial role in fighting climate change.

Multilateral sources

Apart from the $ 5 billion in public funding pledged by the United States, additional financing at preferential rates from multilateral and bilateral and other sources, including the Green Climate Fund, will be required for the implementation of the project between 2016 and 2020.

This funding will leverage $ 15 billion for other investments, for a total of at least $ 20 billion. Still, 400 projects, including the Inga III Dam in the DRC and the Suez Gulf wind farm in Egypt, will benefit from this funding. A donor assurance and securing mechanism under development will enable the over-indebted countries to borrow again in order to finance their projects under this initiative.

ADB’s intervention

The African Renewable Energy Initiative Implementation Unit will be hosted by ADB which has decided to support the implementation of this initiative by creating a Department dedicated exclusively for renewable energy and a common open access fund, through which the various stakeholders in the initiative could benefit from the funding mobilized for the initiative. Still, ADB, which was selected to manage and supervise the initiative, announced in late December 2016 that it would finance $ 2 billion for the project between 2017 and 2020.

However, the experts believe that the private sector as well as civil society organizations should be strongly involved as they could monitor the implementation of the various programs. « This is a very good initiative made by Africans for Africans. But we believe that the private sector and civil society organizations will have to be involved to a large extent to monitor the effectiveness of the various programs and projects financed, and assess their impact on the ground « , said Sena Alouka, Chair of The NGO Young Volunteer for the Environment.

For the time being, everything seems to show a bright future for IAER given the enthusiastic environment with the various stakeholders. As a reminder, Africa currently has 150 gigawatts of total power production capacity.

Author: Blamé Ekoué // Ségolène Royal, Minister of the Environment, Energy and Sea, in charge of International Relations on Climate and Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB © DR


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