ADB President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina

Public, private, civil society stakeholders, development partners and investors in the energy sector held a two-day workshop to discuss the technical, commercial, regulatory and financial issues in Africa’s fast-growing energy market.

The inaugural edition of the Africa Energy Market Place (AEMP) brought together more than 300 participants from northern, eastern, southern and western Africa.

The African Development Bank (ADB) President Akinwumi Adesina, while addressing the delegates, underscored the dire situation of Africa’s energy environment. “Africa has a lot of energy potential but potential doesn’t create anything … We cannot continue to accept Africa being referred to as the ‘dark continent’. We need to act speedily to accelerate our plans to light up and power Africa,” Adesina said.

ADB has made a US $12 billion investment commitment to its New Deal on Energy for Africa program. Sub-Saharan Africa currently has 14 per cent of the world’s population and accounts for 4% of global energy investment. Analysts at the Bank note that several countries, including Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana and Kenya, are on track to reaching universal electricity access by 2030.

Participants at the AEMP had insightful and thought-provoking discussions looking at identifying quick wins in sustainable financing models, commercial and investment prospects, energy access and efficiency and regulatory reforms. Discussions also focused on governance, risk management, beyond-the-grid and renewable energy solutions, training and capacity building.

The AEMP is an industry-wide, collaborative platform convened by the African Development Bank to address barriers to mobilizing and scaling-up private investment into the energy sector by bringing together key stakeholders in the continent’s energy sector.

Specifically, it seeks to address Africa’s dismal energy and electricity production and consumption, which currently stands at 150kWh/capita.

The issues discussed during the AEMP are based on the latest research by the Bank and on inputs received from governments, according to Amadou Hott, African Development Bank’s Vice President in charge of Power, Energy, Climate and Green Energy complex.

The next AEMP meeting to review the progression of projects and investment opportunities in the sector will be on the sidelines of the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) scheduled in Johannesburg, South Africa in November 2018.

AEMP development partners include Power Africa, European Investment Bank, Africa50, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the International Finance Corporation, the European Union, New Development Bank, the Department for International Development, Japan’s Development Agency (JICA), Agence Francaise Development, Kfw, and the German Development Agency.

The AEMP initiative is part of the ‘New Deal on Energy for Africa’ program, a transformative partnership to light up and power Africa by 2025.