Cairo, 7 May 2010- The African Development Bank (AfDB) participated actively at the 2nd North Africa and Middle East Solar Conference MENASOL 2010 in Cairo.
The conference is a regional platform established to promote knowledge and information sharing including business facilitation among the main solar energy market players in the region, about 200 participants came from all over the world including project developers, suppliers, investment banks, utilities, government agencies' representatives, DFIs, engineering and consulting firms, private equity funds, etc, with a major objective: debating on how to take advantage of the solar project opportunities across North Africa and Middle East.
The workshop's first day included various interesting presentations discussing opportunities and challenges for scaling up solar energy investments in the MENA region. Due to the rising costs for conventional power and higher demand for electricity many countries in the region have been developing targets for renewable energy, and in many cases, explicit sub-targets for each technology. In addition to wind power of which there are many projects under construction or operating in MENA, the concentrated solar power could be the next renewable energy technology to be utilized at scale.
On behalf of the AfDB, Ms. Hela Cheikhrouhou, Manager of the Infrastructure Finance Division at the Private Sector Department, acted as Chairperson for the various panels at the first day of the conference and presented the Bank’s energy financing instruments, through its public and private sector windows.
The AfDB’s interventions to support climate change mitigation in Africa are driven by sound policies and strategies and through its financing initiatives; the Bank becomes a major force in private and public sector power development in Africa.
During her presentation Ms. Cheikhrouhou underscored the important role played by the AfDB over the years as a major financier of the energy sector in North Africa and stated that “the Bank looks forward to a continuous collaboration with the RMCs and the World Bank to implement the MENA Concentrated Solar Power investment plan that was approved by the Clean Technology Fund earlier this year, with its provision for up to $750 million concessional co-financings to be provided alongside the AfDB and/or WB loans.”
The Bank has identified several clean energy projects and programs in its pipeline for 2010-2014 to set Africa on a low carbon growth path, broadening the supply of low-cost environmentally clean energy to more people and developing renewable forms of energy to diversify the sources for generating electric power in the African continent.