IRENA Convenes Ministers at COP22 to Address Renewables for Africa

17 November 2016| Articles

Ministers and senior officials from government, international organizations, development institutions and civil society gathered at COP22 in Marrakech on Monday to discuss the pathways to meet African climate objectives with renewable energy.

Building on concrete experiences, the high-level event, organized by IRENA and Environnement et Developpement du Tiers-Monde, gathered government representatives, climate finance institutes, development partners and civil society to discuss how African countries can reap the potential of renewable energy through NDC implementation while advancing their national development priorities. The side-event highlighted the key features of tools and climate finance resource to support NDC implementation.

“In many ways, Africa holds the key to our climate’s future,” said IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin, who moderated the panel.

“We have the opportunity that is unique in the African setting to leapfrog the technologies of the past and power a sustainable energy future. The question is how fast we are going to leap.” — IRENA Director-General Adnan Z. Amin

Increasing numbers of countries, including those in Africa, have recognised renewable energy deployment as a way to reduce their emissions and implement their NDCs under the Paris Agreement. However, the figures in the NDCs, in many instances, are conservative or not consistent with renewable energy paths some African countries are already on.

“When the NDCs were adopted, we found that there are 150 that contain targets for renewables,” said Mr. Amin. “But many of the NDCs contain targets for renewables below the targets that countries have already committed to.”

The high-level panel on NDC implementation consisted of H.E. Dr. Thani Ahmed Al-Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment, United Arab Emirates; H.E. Dr. Mary Goretti Kitutu Kimono, Minister of State for Environment, Uganda; H.E. Elham Ibrahim, Commissioner for infrastructure, African Union; Mr. Andrew M. Herscowitz, Coordinator, Power Africa; Mr. Stephane Pouffary, Founder and CEO, Energies 2050; Mr. Secou Sarr, CEO, ENDA-TM. Youba Sokona of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative also joined the panel for the conclusion.

Panelists expressed optimism but also recognized that more needed to be done from a policy standpoint to install certainty and drive investment and deployment.

"There’s no shortage of projects, said Andrew Herscowitz, coordinator of USAID's Power Africa Initiative. "But why if the money is there, the projects are there and the resources are there. What is the issue? The issue is predictability."

Watch H.E. Elham Ibrahim, Commissioner for infrastructure at African Union talk about the role of renewable energy in Africa and the goals of the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, a topic of discussion during the event: