IEA Ministerial: To support sustainable economic development, African countries need greater access to financing for renewables

Although Africa accounts for nearly one-fifth of the global population and has some of the world’s highest-quality renewable resources, the region attracts only 3% of global energy investment. This share needs to massively increase to harness Africa’s huge renewable energy potential and turn it into a driver of sustainable economic development, domestic industrialisation and expanded energy access.

Ministers from African countries and around the world met this week in Paris at an event hosted by the International Energy Agency and the Netherlands to discuss this issue. The event – which featured a keynote speech from African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy Amani Abou-Zeid and two high-level roundtable discussions – took place during the IEA’s 2024 Ministerial Meeting and 50th anniversary event on 13 and 14 February.

The high-level dialogue was chaired by Michel Heijdra, Vice Minister for Climate and Energy Policy of the Netherlands. Speakers and participants in the discussions included ministers and high-level officials from Egypt, Kenya, Senegal, Belgium, European Union, Italy (which holds this year’s G7 Presidency), Japan, Portugal, Switzerland and Sustainable Energy for All, as well as representatives from other international organisations and the private sector.

The discussions explored how accelerating large-scale investments in renewable energy and hydrogen could propel sustainable development in Africa, allowing countries to simultaneously power economic growth and industrialisation, expand access to electricity and clean cooking, and meet their climate objectives. Speakers emphasised the global benefits of supporting African countries in their efforts to develop diverse and secure energy and critical mineral supply chains.

Participants underlined that reducing perceived risks and attracting investment for renewable energy and hydrogen projects will require African countries to create robust domestic markets. This necessitates policy certainty, innovative partnerships between suppliers and end users, appropriate infrastructure, and greater opportunities to obtain financing in local currency.

The IEA has been working on energy issues in Africa for decades. There are now five African members of the IEA Family: Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, Senegal and South Africa. Recent IEA publications focused on the continent include Financing Clean Energy in Africa and A Vision for Clean Cooking Access for All – as well as a report focused specifically on renewable opportunities in Mauritania, with another on renewables in Namibia currently in development.

Later this year, the IEA will host its 9th Annual Energy Efficiency Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, as well as a Summit on Clean Cooking in Africa in Paris, which will be co-chaired by the President of Tanzania, the Prime Minister of Norway and the IEA Executive Director.