At the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), the African Climate Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Climate Works Foundation, and the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA) on Tuesday launched the Africa Renewable Energy Manufacturing Initiative (AREMI) to drive investment and mobilise action in African countries to scale up renewable energy manufacturing capabilities.
With a remarkable 1.2 terawatts of energy potential, 14 million new jobs, and 6.4 per cent growth in GDP in Africa available under a green transition scenario, this new international initiative will help drive the financial, technical, and socioeconomic investments required to advance clean energy development and transition in Africa.
Home to 60 percent of the world’s best solar resources, Africa has the potential to become a global green manufacturing hub with an expected growth in solar photovoltaics (PV) to 650 gigawatts by 2050.
“Ending energy poverty, saving lives, and avoiding a greater energy crisis means investing in and scaling up sustainable and renewable development projects in Africa,” said Damilola Ogunbiyi, CEO and Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sustainable Energy for All and Co-Chair of UN-Energy.
“That requires both public and private financing to drive renewable energy manufacturing capacity in African countries. With the Africa Renewable Energy Manufacturing Initiative, African countries will be able to shrink the energy gap, further economic growth, and enable a just and equitable energy transition.”
As African nations make progress on energy development and transition, it is increasingly critical to establish local supply chains and talent to ensure the socio-economic benefits of renewable energy and sustainable development accrue locally.
AREMI will focus on capacity building, knowledge transfer, policy dialogues, and advocacy, as well as enabling pilot projects that drive low-emission development and carbon neutrality in Africa through four key programs.
The first is to enable a best-in-class business environment and drive market demand: Partner with African government officials to accelerate and bolster their policymaking for green manufacturing through policy awareness, leadership development, and advocacy.
The second is to build Africa’s green manufacturing workforce: Scale training, employment, and career development opportunities for engineers and technicians in Africa through support for technical schools, online courses, and worker exchange.
The third is to attract green manufacturers to Africa: Help build granular business cases, identify optimal operating models, support tailored advocacy and policy negotiations, and scale green capacity investment and best practice partnerships to provide mature green manufacturers with better access to consulting and financing services and cultivate a robust green manufacturing ecosystem.
While the fourth is to incubate African green manufacturing projects and policies: Provide end-to-end grant support for green manufacturing projects in Africa, from planning and financing to operations and sale of projects.
“With some of the fastest growing economies, Africa has the potential to be a global energy leader and address the twin challenges of energy poverty and the climate crisis,” said Antha Williams, who leads environment programs at Bloomberg Philanthropies. “However, current clean energy investments in Africa are at an alarming low. Changing that requires new levels of collaboration to unlock the dollars needed to electrify and decarbonize Africa. The Africa Renewable Energy Manufacturing Initiative will turbocharge new levels of cooperation to scale and boost green manufacturing capacity, create good jobs, and make renewable energy a key economic anchor in the continent and around the world.”
“Building green manufacturing capacity is key to rapidly scaling renewable energy in Africa,” said Helen Mountford, President and CEO of ClimateWorks Foundation. “Many countries from the Global South are now leading the global renewable energy supply chain. Partnering with, and sharing lessons learned from, renewable energy production efforts in China, India, ASEAN countries, and others, can help countries in Africa to build their own capacity and swiftly address roadblocks.
“This can help them unlock significant investment and commercial collaboration on manufacturing and deployment, as well as accelerating efforts domestically to alleviate energy poverty. ClimateWorks is proud to partner with the Africa Renewable Energy Manufacturing Initiative to support African countries in realizing their vision of creating sustainable, thriving economies that benefit communities and tackle the climate crisis.”
“The legitimacy of climate investment can be measured by the extent to which it seeks to ensure inclusivity and address unemployment and poverty,” said Saliem Fakir, Executive Director of the African Climate Foundation.
“By working with intergovernmental agencies, enterprises, financial institutions, and research institutions, the Africa Renewable Energy Manufacturing Initiative will capitalize on Africa’s growing economy and population while laying a solid foundation for sustainable economic growth and renewable energy production throughout the continent.”
“When it comes to addressing climate change, cooperation is key to fostering innovation,” said Mr. Li Junfeng, President of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association (CREIA).
“Climate change presents a common challenge for countries across the globe, but also an opportunity to jointly reduce emissions because when one country succeeds, the rest also reap the benefits. The Africa Renewable Energy Manufacturing Initiative provides a platform for public and private players to join forces to share knowledge, technological advancements, and improve capacity to deliver a clean future in Africa and worldwide.”
“Home to the world’s youngest population, 70 percent of Africa’s population is under the age of 35 which amounts to 995 million persons,” said Jeanette M. Gitobu, Director of Women in Wind Global Leadership Program & Policy Advisor, Africa at the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
“The involvement of young Africans to address the twin challenges of climate crisis and energy poverty is not merely a question of inclusion, but one that is vital to facilitate a people centered energy transition. The Africa Renewable Energy Manufacturing Initiative will enable African countries to access the social-economic benefits of renewable energy thereby positioning the continent towards a carbon neutral pathway, while providing access to green job opportunities to Africa’s youth.”