Panelists in a 2021 UK Africa Investment Summit event have said that renewable energy will be a critical driver of Africa’s post-COVID-19 growth recovery and economic prosperity – calling for a stronger partnership between the United Kingdom and Africa.
The panel was themed, “UK & Africa: Partnering in Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure Development.”
Discussions at the event covered British innovation and experience in the context of partnering with Africa to advance its economic development. Panel members said investment in large-scale electrification projects would be key.
What they are saying
Louis Taylor, CEO, UK Export Finance said, “African countries are building back better from the coronavirus, adding that this presents an “unalloyed opportunity for UK investors to be part of the African success story and for African countries to access the UK’s support for projects.
“The UK is still the ultimate one-stop-shop. The UK government is still the largest G7 investor in Africa. For instance, UK Export Finance is providing a £ 1.7 billion guarantee to support the development of Cairo monorail in Egypt – the UK’s biggest ever overseas infrastructure guarantee.”
Wale Shonibare, the AfDB Director for Energy Financial Solutions, Policy and Regulation, while calling for a structured approach to sustainable infrastructure development and the implementation of large-scale electrification programs, citing the Bank’s Desert to Power initiative as an example of a project likely to attract interest from UK businesses; stated that:
“Building on the City of London’s deep expertise in innovative financial solutions, the African Development Bank sees promising opportunities to further expand its program to securitize receipts from solar home systems providers.”
Nicholas Oliver, Business Development Director of UK-based NMS Infrastructure Ltd, urged that: “We need to create partnerships with governments and local businesses. It is a great time to invest in Africa. The African Development Bank estimates that climate change presents a $3 trillion investment by 2030. What an opportunity.
Olusola Lawson, Co-Managing Director of African Infrastructure Investment Managers, an infrastructure investment management firm, noted that: “In Africa, you can’t have transition without electrification. In this context, what we see is the trend from centralized large-scale power plants to a more distributive system.”
What you should know
- According to International Energy Agency data, scaling up Africa’s capacity to achieve universal access to energy by 2030 would require over $100 billion per year, of which 40% would be dedicated to solar, wind, and other low-carbon power generation projects.
- The African Development Bank has taken the lead in accelerating the electrification of the continent through its New Deal on Energy for Africa, a transformative partnership-based strategy that aims to increase access to energy for all Africans.
- The UK Africa Investment Conference, hosted by the UK Department for International Trade, brings together the UK and African businesses to explore the opportunities for partnership and investment.
- The UK has been a strong partner to the African Development Bank in the institution’s drive to attract greater private sector participation in African infrastructure investment. The Bank is currently working with a number of UK institutions to improve the enabling environment for infrastructure development in Africa.