Africa will play a “fundamental role” in implementing the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate, officials said ahead of the Cop28 summit in the UAE in November.
The world must ensure that climate finance is more “available, affordable, and accessible” to all developing countries, including those in Africa, Cop28 President-designate Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Kenya's President William Ruto and African Union Commission chairman Moussa Mahamat said in a joint statement on Monday.
International investment must be “massively scaled up” to enable commitments to be turned into action across the continent, the statement, released at the Africa Climate Summit in Nairobi, said.
“Africa is a continent brimming with promise,” it said.
“It is blessed with abundant renewable energy potential that is waiting to be tapped. Africa’s 1.4 billion people represent 17 per cent of the world’s population, 60 per cent of which are under the age of 25 making it the youngest population in the world.
“But despite accounting for less than 3 per cent of the world’s energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to date and having the lowest emissions per capita of any region, Africa is also home to many of the most climate vulnerable countries.”
Developed countries must deliver on their commitments, including the $100 billion of annual climate finance, doubling adaptation finance and ensuring a strong replenishment of the Green Climate Fund, the statement said.
Africa’s installed renewable energy capacity is set to grow to more than 530 gigawatts by 2040, from about 54 gigawatts in 2020, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).
Solar photovoltaic capacity will rise to 340 gigawatts and wind to 90 gigawatts.
At the summit on Monday, Irena, in collaboration with Kenya, the UAE, Denmark and Germany, also announced a new partnership pledging to boost renewable energy in Africa.
The Accelerated Partnership for Renewables in Africa (Apra), which also includes Ethiopia, Namibia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe, focuses on three crucial areas: mobilising finance, providing technical assistance and capacity building, and engaging the private sector.
Partners are inviting other countries as well as public and private sector organisations to join Apra to amplify efforts, lead ambitious climate action, and use effective green energy strategies, a separate statement said.
“Although Africa has 17 per cent of the world’s population, it has only received 2 per cent of worldwide investment in renewable energy,” said Irena director-general Francesco La Camera.
“This partnership recognises a key opportunity for African nations to tap into their abundant renewable energy and mineral potential to drive green industrialisation locally while reinforcing the energy transition worldwide.”
The UAE is supporting Africa's renewable energy push through initiatives such as Etihad 7, which aims to raise public and private sector funds to invest in the development of the sector. It aims to achieve 20 gigawatts of capacity to supply 100 million people across the continent with clean electricity by 2035.
As part of the deals signed under the umbrella of the Etihad 7 initiative, UAE clean energy company Masdar signed agreements in January with three African countries to develop renewable energy projects with a combined capacity of up to 5 gigawatts.
Masdar will develop renewable projects in Angola, Uganda and Zambia – with a capacity of 2 gigawatts each in Angola and Zambia, and 1 gigawatt in Uganda.
In March, Infinity Power, a joint venture between Egypt’s Infinity and Masdar, also completed the acquisition of the entire shareholding of Africa’s wind power platform Lekela Power and became the largest renewable energy company in the continent.
“Our efforts are focused on advancing a credible response to climate change that builds resilience and limits impacts on lives and livelihoods through clear and tangible outcomes on adaptation and loss and damage,” the statement said.
“This includes operationalising the loss and damage fund and funding arrangements at Cop28. We have to make every effort to realise the promise made at Cop27 in Egypt, including early capitalisation of the fund.”
Adaptation finance represents less than 10 per cent of all climate finance and this imbalance must be “urgently addressed”, it added.
Africa could be a key supplier of green hydrogen to Europe, which is currently looking to diversify its energy mix following the reduction of Russian natural gas supplies, according to Rystad Energy.
More than 52 green hydrogen projects have been announced in Africa, with production set to reach 7.2 million tonnes by the end of 2035, the Norway-based consultancy said in a report in March.
Access to clean cooking is a major issue in Africa, where thousands of people die annually and millions suffer chronic health problems from illnesses linked to air pollution.
China, India and Indonesia have halved the number of their citizens who lack clean cooking access since 2010.
But in Africa, the number of people without clean cooking access has increased during the same period, the International Energy Agency intergovernmental organisation, said in a July report.
An annual investment of $8 billion will be required until 2030 to achieve universal access to clean cooking, the Paris-based agency has said.
Developing countries require about $1.7 trillion per year in the clean energy sector but only managed to attract foreign direct investment worth $544 billion in 2022, Unctad, the UN intergovernmental organisation that promotes the interests of developing countries in world trade, said in its World Investment Report in July.