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“Energy powers economies and every delay in power project execution keep our people in darkness,” underscored AfDB’s Vice-President for power, energy, climate and green growth, Amadou Hott at the inaugural meeting of the Africa Energy Marketplace, in Côte d’Ivoire.

“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,” he said, adding that, “Children are growing up without electricity.”

Participants who came from Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Zambia produced time-bound action plans to accelerate energy sector reforms and project execution.

According to the AfDB, the scope of the discussions targeted up to 200 projects at various completion stages, with an estimated total investment value exceeding $50 billion.

For Côte d’Ivoire, key recommendations proposed for the next two to three years include tax holidays and tariff rebates for solar equipment makers and importers.

The country is also looking at establishing a phased programme of environmental impact assessments and collaborating with development partners to strengthen the financial viability of the power sector.

Capital mobilisation

Ethiopia’s action plan includes capital mobilisation for capacity building and reforms in its Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Electricity; developing off-grid energy solutions, and measures to mitigate currency risks.

Ethiopia is also looking to ratify the New York Arbitration Convention to fulfil international lender’s bankability requirements.

As part of its future energy plans, Nigeria will assess its gas-to-power value chain and develop robust franchising regulations for mini-grid systems in under-served areas.

This move will form part of its nation-wide integrated multi-modal electricity generation and distribution system.

Meanwhile, Zambia plans to create an off-grid working group to improve stakeholder communications and coordination in the domestic off-grid market. Read more: Zambia obtains $50m to advance its renewable energy programme

The African Energy Marketplace is also promoting South-South economic cooperation and knowledge exchange.

Zambia’s partnership with Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity and Energy, for example, will develop soft and hard infrastructure services related to renewable energy programs, laboratory testing, training and capacity building.