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Major funding to develop renewable energy across the continent

Abidjan – The Boards of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) have endorsed the proposal by the Bank’s Management to serve as Trustee to administer and manage the resources of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI), and also to host the AREI Independent Delivery Unit as requested by African Heads of State and Government under the auspices of the African Union.

The AREI is an Africa-owned and Africa-led initiative of the African Union. It aims to harness Africa’s abundant renewable energy resources to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, enhanced well-being, and sound economic development by ensuring universal access to sufficient amounts of clean, appropriate and affordable energy. It also strives to help African countries leapfrog renewable energy technologies supporting low-carbon development strategies while enhancing economic and energy security. In so doing the Initiative will ensure access to energy while addressing climate change. “It is indeed Africa’s bold effort at transitioning to green growth” stated the African Development Bank when announcing the launch of the funding mechanism during December 2016.

AREI was launched at COP 21 in Paris in December 2015. It enjoys strong international support from development partners who have committed at least US$10 billion cumulatively during 2015 and 2016 to harness renewable energy potential and expand energy access across the continent.

AREI will have a governance arrangement consisting of a Board of Directors, a Technical Committee, an Independent Delivery Unit and a Trustee who serves as the host of the Independent Delivery Unit. The bank stated it is grateful to France and Germany who have already committed E6 million and E2 million respectively to support the Independent Delivery Unit.

The African Development Bank will consequently host AREI as an Open Access Global Fund in its Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth complex. As an Open Access Global Fund, accredited implementing agencies operating in Africa will be able to access the fund. It will be functionally independent from the trustee’s decision-making structures.

The Development Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa is a partnership-driven effort. AREI will be a strong partner to ensure that Africa achieves universal access to energy and that the share of renewables in Africa’s energy mix is significantly ramped up.

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SADC Correspondent

SADC correspondents are independent contributors whose work covers regional issues of southern Africa outside the immediate Namibian ambit. Ed.