Africa’s renewable energy sector to be worth $57b by 2020 – UN

SolarThe demand for power in Africa is expected to grow, driving the projected worth of continent’s renewable energy sector to $57 billion by the year 2020, a senior UN official has said.

Mr. Said Adejumobi, the Director, Governance  and Public Administration Division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) told a business forum of investors in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that the sector recorded “a staggering 1,583% increase between 2004 and 2011.”

He indicated that the enormous growth amounts to $3.6 billion in 2011 from $750 million in 2004 and is mainly due to the large unmet demand, combined with abundantly available sources of renewable energy in Africa.

Adejumobi argued that the demand for energy is expected to rise in the foreseeable future due to a combination of factors, including  Africa’s notable economic progress in the last 15 years, which averaged about 5% GDP growth rate; the demographic structure in which over 60% of the continent’s population is made up of young people; and the increasing rate of urbanization in Africa.

The key growth areas in the sector he said, include wind, solar and geothermal power, he therefore emphasised the need for foreign direct investment into the continent’s energy and power infrastructure.

“Investment in renewable energy, is a major priority for Africa,” he said.

The Forum according to Sam Cho, who heads the ECA’s private sector section brought together investors, banks, government investment agencies and those in the energy sector to discuss interests, concrete investments and other areas of collaboration.

Among those present at the Forum are emerging market investors from China, India, Korea and Brazil, financing departments from the World Bank, the AfDB, DBSA, AFC and Ecobank.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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