New agreement will see policy support, an investment fund created and a start-up platform to identify innovative new projects.
Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform and the International Solar Alliance have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to support and finance greater solar roll-out in Africa.
Solar energy represents an opportunity for inexpensive and low-carbon economic development across the African continent and the potential to help make Africa a long-term energy exporter to regions like Europe.
The MoU was signed at Africa50’s Infra for Africa Forum in Togo, which featured addresses by Faure Gnassingbé, president of the Republic of Togo, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, president of the African Development Bank Group and Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, director-general of the World Trade Organization.
Africa50 works with African governments and project sponsors to develop bankable projects that can be financed by the private sector and invest equity in infrastructure projects. It has supported more than $6bn in recent years, including solar projects like the 400MW Benban Solar Plant in Egypt, the largest in Africa, which is currently supplying clean power to over 1.5 million people in the country.
Practical measures to improve delivery
As part of the new partnership, the two organisations will work to strengthen capacity for solar delivery in African nations, promoting policy change and investments needed to speed up solar roll-out.
The partnership will also see the ISA initiate a Solar Finance Facility designed to help mitigate investment risk in solar projects and the SolarX Startup Challenge to identify and support innovative solar projects for investment.
The move directly addresses one of the big challenges faced in infrastructure development across Africa, with the president of Togo using his address to the forum to stress the need for private and public involvement to bring more bankable projects to market.
Africa50 CEO Alain Ebobissé commented on the new partnership saying: “Clean energy and a sustainable transition are core pillars of Africa50’s investment strategy. ISA and its network represent a wealth of knowledge and connectivity in the solar space that the African continent can benefit from. We are excited to work with ISA to identify, fund and develop bankable solar projects in Africa which will support the continent’s transition to net zero.”
Dr Ajay Mathur, director general of International Solar Alliance, added: “Together we hope to work on the provision of technical expertise to facilitate the development and execution of solar projects across African nations, joint mobilisation of funds to co-finance solar initiatives within the region, leveraging ISA’s extensive network of member countries and partners and Africa50’s access to robust capital markets. Focus will also be on raising public awareness and fortifying capacity-building endeavours for African solar power projects.”
The two organisations will also engage in mutual capacity building and seek to leverage each other’s networks to mobilise funding and raise awareness of African solar projects in European and Indian markets.