With Nigeria and other country grappling with energy challenge, African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina said a lot more needs to be done given Africa’s energy potential and the huge needs to be met.
He said: “Africa is blessed with limitless potential for solar, wind, hydropower and geothermal energy resources. We must unlock Africa’s energy potential – both conventional and renewable. Unlocking the huge energy potential of Africa, for Africa, will be a major focus of the Bank,” he said.
A statement from the bank said the continent ’s energy needs are so huge that efforts being made in the sector often appear like drops of water sprinkled in the Sahara Desert.
According to the bank, its current energy portfolio hovers around US $11 billion. But lending to energy sector projects (public and private) is exceeding an annual US $1 billion in recent years.
Consequently, the bank said energy is the central theme of the African Development Bank’s 2016 Annual Meetings as well as its 2015 Annual Report.
The theme, “Energy and Climate Change”, underscores the importance the Bank attaches to energy, which the AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, describes as “the lifeblood of any society and the passport to economic transformation.”
The bank said energy is at the top of the Bank’s High five priorities – Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the quality of life for Africans. In addition, the Bank is leading and hosting many energy-related initiatives and organisations such as the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Africa Hub in partnership with the African Union Commission, the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) Agency, and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It also hosts the Secretariat to the African Energy Leaders Group (AELG).
It is one of the architects and a key financier of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). The Bank is actively engaged in the new Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, and is expected to play a key implementation role. It cooperates with key stakeholders in the energy sector, such as the World Bank Group, European Commission, bilateral donors including the US (especially through the Power Africa Initiative), the UK, France, Germany, and the International Renewable Agency (IRENA), among others.
Thus, in September 2015 the Bank articulated a New Deal on Energy for Africa and launched a Transformative Partnership on Energy for Africa to light up and power Africa by 2025. The goal is to add 160 GW of new generation capacity through the existing grid, deliver 130 million new grid and 75 million off-grid connections.