Creating Bridges to Affordable, Reliable and Clean Energy in Africa Webinar

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On March 17th 2022, EnvironFocus ran a webinar that focused on SDG 7: Affordable and Clean Energy. The focus region was Sub-Saharan Africa because in Sub-Saharan Africa there is a specific need for action on access to energy.

The purpose of SDG 7 is to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all, and this webinar addressed this SDG by discussing how it can be possible to create opportunities and bridges to ensure that all have access to this type of energy. A recurring connection made by all three of our speakers in this discussion regarding SDG 7 was the lack of energy access that Africa has and the barriers that stand in the way but also the resources, solutions, and opportunities the region has as well.

The webinar consisted of three expert speakers, Muriel Cookey, Dr. Segun Adaju, and Dr. Chioma Ewurum:

Speaker 1: Muriel Cookey

Speaker 2: Dr. Segun Adaju

Speaker 3: Dr. Chioma Ewurum

Speaker 1: Muriel Cookey

Muriel Cookey is a corporate strategist in clean growth and sustainable development. At this webinar she spoke about what is required in order to build bridges to energy that is affordable, reliable and clean. More specifically she discussed the role of regulation and support frameworks and the role of financing and de-risking renewable energy (RE) investments being required to build bridges to affordable, reliable and clean energy.

Highlights of some of the discussion points that Muriel’s presentation focused on are that firstly, regulation is important for RE investments because of emission and positive externalities, where companies that emit are not internalizing the costs of their emissions. Also, she mentioned that regulation and support frameworks are critical in overcoming the economic constraints that skew the risk-return profile of climate and renewable energy projects. Secondly, she discussed what we need to do to de-risk investments. Despite the promise of the African market, risks are an obstacle that prevents a lot of investors from committing their resources, and she discusses that what should be done about this is de-risking investments and mobilizing capital.

Some memorable quotes from Muriel that sum up her presentation and are helpful in addressing what is required to build these bridges to energy are:

“Globally there was about 2.8 trillion that was invested in renewable energy between 2000 and 2020, however only 2% of global investments went to Africa  […] I think that one of the key issues is actual or perceived investment risk.” 

“At the fundamental level the policy framework and the enabling conditions of financing to thrive should be priority” 

“In looking at SDG 7 or in looking at clean energy, affordable energy it’s beyond just solving an energy problem, there needs to be a mindset shift that looks at clean or clean energy as a tool for accomplishing Africa’s economic transformation”

Speaker 2: Dr. Segun Adaju

Dr. Segun Adaju is the CEO of Consistent Energy and President of Renewable Energy Association of Nigeria. At this webinar he spoke about distributed renewable energy and Africa’s energy future.

Highlights of some of the discussion points that Dr. Adaju’s presentation focused on are f irstly that energy access is defined through a multi-tier framework based on the quality of energy accessed,as defined by the World Bank, and some of Africa’s energy access is defined as tier 0. And there is this energy gap due to energy planning and policies, Africa lacks in the workforce, and also that only one third of the capital needs are met annually leaving unfulfilled investment gaps. In terms of Africa’s energy future Dr. Adaju discussed that Africa, particularly Nigeria, has solar energy resources. He questions why off grid renewables? And his answer to this is human development, economic and environmental issues, and technology adaptability. He also made the point that the quickest and cheapest way to energy access is distributed renewable energy technologies.

Some memorable quotes from Dr. Adaju are:

“As of 2016 almost 600 million Africans don’t have access to energy, electricity and if  business as usual, over 550 million by 2030 will still not have access. We may have challenges meeting the SDG’s”

“Africa has incredible solar resources that can create the energy we are talking about, yet we are still suffering from lack of energy. You wonder, we have resources in Africa, why are we not deploying these relevant technologies? Most of the causes have been around access to finance and the cost of technology”

Speaker 3: Dr. Chioma Ewurum

Dr. Chioma Ewurum is the head of research at Clean Tech Hub in Nigeria. At this webinar she spoke about increasing renewable energy adoption in Africa.

Highlights of some of the discussion points that Dr. Ewurum’s presentation focused on are that there is a need for renewable energy adoption because the overall state of electrification in Africa is so far from its potential and the current energy situation is not able to meet the growing energy demand. She also spoke on there being three major barriers to renewable energy adoption, those being economic barriers in demand and supply, technological barriers and the limited availability, and regulatory barriers such as ineffective government policies. And lastly she discussed how to increase renewable energy adoption where she mentioned establishing detailed RE targets and action plan, additional finance and investment support, building partnerships and capacity building, and promoting and supporting “productive use” of renewable energy.

Some memorable quotes from Dr. Ewurum are:

“Several African Countries like Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Morocco, and South Africa have shown strong commitment towards adoption of renewable energy, and I believe that other countries should definitely follow suit. We are in doubt with substantial renewable energy resources, and very well positioned to adopt innovative sustainable technologies.”

“We all have a critical role to play to see how we can increase the adoption of renewable energy in africa.”

This webinar again provided insightful knowledge on Africa’s access to energy through not only the presentation but also the engaging Q&A.

We want to thank our speakers for sharing their knowledge with us and creating an atmosphere of learning and thoughtful discussions. All of them overall made excellent connections between the lack of energy access that Africa has and the barriers that stand in the way but also the resources, solutions, and opportunities the region has as well.

We are grateful to those who attended the webinar, and we want to make this knowledge accessible to those who could not attend, below you will find information on how to access the webinar recording.

Webinar Preview

To pay for the full video, visit our webinar recordings page on our website.

Next Webinar Coming Up

Our next webinar will cover SDG 16, peace, justice and strong institutions and will be held on April 21st 2022. You can stay updated and be ready to save your spot by following us on our social media and subscribing to our mailing list here

You can also let us know what topics you are interested in for future webinars by emailing us at project@environfocus.com. We hope that you can attend our next webinar in April. To stay updated on our next webinar, you can follow us on our social media and subscribe to our mailing list here

About Post Author

Obie Agusiegbe

A Certified Sustainability and Environmental Management Expert with over 20 years’ experience in the sustainability sector. She works with organizations interested in improving their sustainability performance by assisting them identify and implement ways to include environmental and social aspects into their existing offerings. Her solutions are innovative and build bridges globally International Development | Africa | Clean Technologies | Climate Resilience | Humanitarian | Fairness
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