On November 13, 2016 in Marrakech, Africa 50 CEO Alain Ebobisse was one of the featured panelists at a conference organized by Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco’s largest bank and the third largest in Africa. Mr. Ebobisse was joined by four key officials who have spearheaded Morocco’s successful renewable energy program.
Amina Benkhadra, Director General of the Hydrocarbon and Mining Office (ONHYM), who explained Morocco’s regulatory environment; Mustapha Bakkoury, President of the Moroccan Solar Energy Agency (MASEN), who underlined Morocco’s strategic approach to promoting renewable energy; Saïd Mouline, Director the National Energy Efficiency Agency (ADEREE), who highlighted the importance of energy efficiency; and Youssef Rouissi Deputy Director General of Attijariwafa Bank Group, who detailed the bank’s involvement in and financing of the green economy. The discussion was moderated by noted Moroccan journalist Estelle Youssouffae.
Responding to the moderator’s question on how to limit climate change and assure a positive development impact while providing more power for Africa, Mr. Ebobisse emphasized that Africa50 focuses on renewable energy and follows globally recognized environmental and social standards. He explained that investment in renewables will only happen if investors can expect a reasonable and secure rate of return – that they should “do well by doing good.” While Africa excels in hydropower generation, only 1-2% of its energy mix comes from other renewable sources, which is far less than elsewhere.
One of the bottlenecks in power sector investment is that, while money is available, there are not enough bankable projects. The political and regulatory uncertainties in many countries scare off investors and few are willing to take early stage risks. They wait too long, until projects are almost finalized. This can and must change with the proper financial and political support organizations like Africa50 can offer in project development.
He praised Morocco’s leadership in renewable energy investment in this regard. What is necessary is top down commitment from governments, credible regulatory policies consistently implemented over the long term, and guarantees and risk insurance provided by international financial institutions.