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Africa backs global solar grid initiative

Africa , 11 Nov 2021

Several African countries have officially endorsed the One Sun One World One Grid global solar grid initiative launched by the UK and India at the UN Climate Change Conference 2021 in Glasgow.

The initiative seeks to maximise solar energy across the world and many African states view solar as an option to reduce the continent’s over-dependence on non-renewable sources such as coal.

The ambitious goal is to create a solar-powered electricity network that connects 140 countries. It is expected to reduce the global reliance on non-renewable energy sources such as coal and will enable nations to purchase solar power from each other.

“By trading energy from sun, wind and water across borders, we can deliver more than enough clean energy to meet the needs of everyone on earth,” the UK government said in a statement.

Countries that have endorsed the initiative include: Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo and Djibouti. Others are Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana and Guinea. Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea and Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Speaking to Devex on the sidelines of the conference, Al-Hamndou Dorsouma, officer in charge of climate change and green growth at the African Development Bank (AfDB), said while a more conducive environment needs to be created by African countries to ensure the fruition of the initiative and others announced at the conference, the continent already has a similar solar grid network system that can be integrated into the global plan.

“We already have the Desert to Power that will stretch across the Sahel region, connecting 250 million people with electricity by tapping into the region’s abundant solar resources. What we need now is the necessary financing to implement the projects and to turn the vision into reality,” said Dorsouma.

He noted that accelerated integration of solar and other renewable energies can be achieved in Africa if the continent is able to access more climate financing.

“Africa currently only accesses 3% of the global climate finance but we are hoping this can be increased to 10% or more as soon as possible,” he added.

He noted that the framework of the global grid network system can also be applicable to Africa where several other regions have opportunities for other renewable energy sources including wind.

“There are also a number of windy places in Africa and we can harness that opportunity. There are several programmes under the African Union for countries to work together which have energy components including initiatives for expanding energy from countries with abundant energy to countries without such. But the issue remains investing and mobilising resources for transformative programmes that Africa has already.”

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