On Thursday, the Second West Africa Forum for Clean Energy Financing (WAFCEF2) awards, where entrepreneurs showcase their clean power projects, opened in Abidjan. The Forum enables the innovators to present their projects to a panel of financiers and investors.
Clean power projects given West African focus
According to the African Development Bank (AfDB), this year 10 clean power project finalists will be featured in a west African regional division. Products included range from Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal.
Their focus varies from biofuels, biomass, biogas, hydroelectric, solar, and conversion of waste-to-energy, the Bank added in a statement.
A representative of each project will be given the opportunity to pitch their clean power business strategy to the panel of judges.
African Development Bank’s Joao Duarte Cunha, Coordinator of the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) and co-sponsor of the award, said: “We are glad to see once again a diverse lot of projects driven by talented entrepreneurs. This is a reflection of the wide range of ideas and solutions available to electrify the continent in an environmentally and socially sustainable fashion.”
Establishment of Forum
WAFCEF2 is a joint partnership with ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and the Climate Technology Initiative – Private Financing Advisory Network (CTI-PFAN).
The week-long forum is held in conjunction with a High-Level Consultative Meeting towards a New Deal on Energy for Africa taking place in Abidjan, the Bank said in a statement.
New Deal for Energy in Africa
The New Deal for Energy, which was revealed by the AfDB during the Forum, “charts the way for a transformative partnership on energy, [which] focuses on mobilising support and funding for the initiative from five key areas,” the Bank explained.
In addition to the Bank expanding its efforts across the continent, development partners would be required to “scale up on-going efforts while countries must also expand their share of financing going into the energy sector and at the same time demonstrate stronger political will to ensure success of the Deal.”
Speaking at the unveiling, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina stressed: “A lot of financing will be needed. Together, we must close the $55 billion financing gap for energy in sub-Saharan Africa. And we must raise our level of commitment to meet the $22 billion needed to support universal access to energy in the region.”
He added: “The New Energy Deal for Africa will push for the establishment of a Bottom-of the Pyramid Energy Financing Facility for Africa.
“This should support some 700 million people to afford clean cooking energy stoves. The cost is well within our reach to provide, for it will take only $4.2 billion to solve the problem. We can and must solve their problem – and do so quickly.”
“Success lies just ahead of us”
Adesina added that it was imperative to drive the development of major regional energy projects such as the Inga dam in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He added: “And for that we must move together. This is why at the Bank we have proposed the formation of the Transformative Partnership on Energy in Africa. Under this, we will pull together to drive the needed reforms in Africa’s energy sector to achieve the universal access to energy by 2025. Success lies just ahead of us!”
According to the Bank, the Vice Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Thomas Luhaka and Cote D’Ivoire’s Prime Minister, Daniel Kablan Duncan, “pledged to mobilise the necessary political support required to ensure that Africa gets rid of its ‘energy poverty’ by 2025.”