energy powerhouse
The African Development Bank (AfDB) hosted the fourth edition of the Africa CEO Forum whereby Africa's potential to become the next clean energy powerhouse was debated.

On Monday, energy industry experts gathered at the AfDB headquarters, in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire to discuss how the African continent can move forward in providing access to electricity and also hopefully become the next clean energy powerhouse.

Addressing the secondary plenary panel, Copperbelt Energy Corporation’s CEO Siyanga Malumo stated that the money is available to enable the continent towards that potential. “The money is there: so we need the policy, the enabling environment, and the right tariff structure,” he stressed.

“The backdrop to our discussion today is that 621 million Africans don't have access to electricity, and that 600,000 of them a year die from the effects of using biomass for cooking. No matter which figures you read, it's clear that we have a funding challenge - we need $40-50 billion a year to spend on energy infrastructure, and thus far we're investing nearer $8 billion,” Adam Kendall, managing partner at McKinsey & Company noted.

Challenges slowing Africa’s energy powerhouse ambition

Kendall further highlighted that Africa’s three energy areas are gas, hydro and solar energy. “Our collective challenges lie in getting the regulatory policy right, raising the financing resources, optimising the role and capacity of the energy utilities, securing rural electrification, and above all securing political will,” he added.

[quote]Meanwhile, Kevin Urama, an adviser to the president of the AfDB, explained the Bank-led initiative, dubbed the ‘New Deal on Energy for Africa’ seeks to ensure universal access to energy on the continent by 2025.

But Urama pointed out the challenges they are faced with in realising this goal: "Our twin challenges are ramping up energy access to ensure that we can deliver on our development goals, and finding the right mix of renewable and traditional sources of energy."

Elizabeth Littlefield, President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), said: “US businesses are waking up to the investment opportunities presented by renewable energy in Africa, and particularly West Africa. OPIC's renewable energy portfolio has grown ten-fold in two years.”