Clean Energy Development: Opportunity for Local Spinoffs in Africa

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How to increase local content and create additional jobs in clean energy projects in Africa

Tanja Faller, an energy economist at the African Development Bank (AfDB) described the opportunity offered to Africa by developing a clean energy industry during a session on ‘Leap into Green Growth: Promoting Clean Technology Manufacturing” at the Climate Investment Funds Partnership Forum, from 24 to 25 June in Cape Town, South Africa.

“Clean energy is an opportunity to leapfrog the continent to a green growth path’, said Ms Faller. She indicated that this development can bring about the creation of a whole industry providing good quality jobs for local populations.

However, the challenges ahead are quality and certification of equipment, the capacity of countries to take up the challenge, and the training of highly skilled labour.

What is the way ahead? Ms Faller emphasized two elements: fostering innovative systems to suppot clean technology solutions, and flexibility in donors' procurement processes to allow the creation of local demand, notably by having local content criteria the prequalification process.

‘Strengthening the support of clean technology manufacturing can ensure the sustainability of renewable energy in Africa’, said Ms Faller.  Major investments in renewable energy can only be sustainable if local jobs are available”.

The AfDB is supporting green growth in Africa through a variety of tools, such as grant support. sovereign lending, sharing knowledge, private project financing, equity, and policy-based lending.