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19 November 2010 - The African Development Bank illustrated the vast potential of Africa’s renewable energy and private sector projects to private industry firms, consultants, and investors from a dozen countries at the Annual Energy Sector Mission, which took place in Washington, D.C. from 31 October to 4 November.
A delegation from the AfDB’s Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department and Private Sector Department explained how the Bank is meeting the challenge of energy access for all Africans through public and private sector interventions. They explained how the Bank is mobilizing climate financing to stimulate the renewable energy market in Africa, particularly through the Climate Investment Funds, and highlight many of its projects in solar, wind, and hydropower.
“Africa has only developed about seven percent of its known hydro potential, and a significantly smaller proportion of the continent’s potential for wind and solar energy,” stated Mafalda Duarte, a Principal Climate Change Specialist and the Climate Investment Funds Coordinator at the Bank. “With their environmental advantages, suitability to rural areas and potential to stimulate local economies, small-scale renewable energy technologies can help Africa meet MDGs.”
She explained that the perceived risks of renewable energy initiatives were high, especially in Africa, due to the relative long-term maturity of such investments and sometimes as a result of new or expensive technologies being used. “The Bank plays a key role in backing such initiatives with its own resources, including leveraging financing from other sources, to boost investor confidence and participation in this emerging area,” she said.
The Bank was joined at the event by other multilateral development banks, including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Asian Development Bank, which also presented their energy sector strategies and activities. The Annual Energy Sector Mission is organized by the Private Sector Liaison Officers Network.