Accelerating renewable energy investment in West Africa

Addressing existing barriers to clean energy investment and promoting capital deployment across the continent is urgently needed. (Image source: Adobe Stock)

PwC Middle East, a network of firms committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services, and Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar), one of the world’s fastest-growing renewable energy companies, have partnered and launched a new report to reaffirm the importance of advancing the renewable energy transition in West Africa

The new report, ‘Accelerating Renewable Energy Investment in West Africa’, was launched ahead of COP28 at Abu Dhabi Finance Week and aims to ensure affordable access to clean electricity in West Africa while encouraging policymakers to fully-understand the investment required for the energy transition in the region. 

Currently, the region has one of the lowest electrification rate with approximately 220mn people living without access to power. This issue is exacerbated by the fact it has some of the highest electricity costs in sub-Saharan Africa and demand for energy services across Africa is expected to grow rapidly with rising population levels. 

The report found that West Africa has an unexploited renewable energy capacity potential of 2,000GW; renewal and decarbonisation demanded by the region’s energy sector; pro-investment policy coupled with renewable energy technologies could transform the sector and meet urgent social and economic needs; and sovereign wealth funds could play a big part in driving investment into the region’s renewable sector. 

“If the African economy is to multiply its renewables capacity 40 times by 2050, as this report recommends, then we are in a race against time,” remarked Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar. “We need to rapidly accelerate the flows of climate finance into the renewables space in Africa – bringing together public, private, and development capital to unlock the continent’s incredible potential.

“We believe that Masdar has a key part to play in this effort, and indeed, we are already well-established as a major player in Africa. We are grateful to PwC Middle East for partnering with us in highlighting the potential of the West African renewable sector, and the regulatory reform that is required to drive investments.”

Carlos Mendes, capital projects partner, PwC Middle East, added, “We are proud to collaborate with Masdar on this paper, which we believe will be a critical step towards creating pathways to foster renewable energy ecosystems in West Africa. The region has significant untapped potential in alleviating the energy shortage and we are hopeful that the paper will encourage policy reforms in the near future, enabling the bankability of renewable energy projects in the region and decoupling them from the country risk rating.”

The report can be read here.