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Renewable investment in Africa increases off low base

9 January 2012 – Statistics provided by Nigeria’s Bank of Industry indicate that total investments in renewable energy in Africa rose from US$750 million in 2004 to US$3.6 billion in 2011. However, these are small numbers compared with the global increase in renewable energy over the same period, which went from US$33 billion to US$211 billion.

By 2020, the investment in renewable energy in Africa is expected to grow toUS$57 billion. The Frost & Sullivan Mega Trends in Africa: a Bright Vision for the Growing Continent report released during 2011 suggests, "The key growth sectors will be wind power, solar power, geothermal power and foreign direct investment (FDI) into energy and power infrastructure."

Though more than 600 million Africans currently do not have access to electric power, many of the continent’s natural renewable resources remain undeveloped. For example, only some 7% of Africa’s hydropower capacity has been developed to date. Such factors create the opportunity for the continent to build a renewable energy infrastructure that could potentially bypass fossil fuel-centred energy infrastructure systems of the developed world.

Already wind power projects in Africa are planned or underway in Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Tanzania. The most notable of these is Kenya’s 300 MW Lake Turkana project and 700 MW of capacity under construction in Morocco, while Cameroon, Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda all have existing biomass power capacity or plans for future development.