On November 10, 2016, Africa50 organized a CEO round table at COP22 entitled “Scaling up Private Investment in Renewable Energy in Africa.”
Aside from Africa50 CEO Alan Ebobisse, the panelists included Amadou Hott, Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth at the AfDB, Torger Lien, CEO of Norway’s SNPower, Charlotte Aubin-Kalaidjian, CEO of GreenWish Partners, Lida Fitts, Africa Director of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency, and Ousseynou Nakoulima, Director of Country Programs of the Green Climate Fund.
Panelists addressed Africa’s urgent need for power generation from renewables and how this can best be accomplished through private sector participation. The focus was both on finding funds, including from institutional investors and IFIs, and on how to best to use these funds. Bolstering the pipeline of bankable projects figured prominently in the discussion.
Some key points:
- VP Hott stressed the need to “crowd-in” private investment. With only about 10% of power investments funded through equity, debt instruments are still necessary and must be structured correctly.
- Torger Lien discussed the successful hydropower investments of SNPower and hydro’s potential for regional power supply, versus solar and wind power, which are more localized and can suffer from intermittency.
- Charlotte Aubin underlined the need to fast track projects and to find viable off-takers in environments where utilities and governments cannot always be relied on.
- Lida Fitts explained how USTDA can contribute to shortening the project development phase and the need for regulatory stability, stressing that it is a “new road” that must be broken in.
- Ousseynou Nakoulima presented the Green Climate Fund’s work in building partnerships worldwide and the necessity of coupling technical assistance with funding.
- Alain Ebobisse, in his opening remarks, decried the fact that Africa lags behind other regions in wind and solar energy generation, outlining the measures that must be taken to remedy this and how Africa50 can help.
Questions from the audience led to further discussion of themes such as the importance of local participation in projects and how Africa can compete for institutional investors.