Renewable Energy for Local Economic Development in Africa
Review of the Connective Cities kick-off event, October 3-5, 2023, Nairobi, Kenya.
Presentation by Grace Ojiayo from Nairobi | Photo: Connective Cities
The main objective of the workshop is to develop renewable energy projects in African cities.
The workshop was attended by 30 practitioners* from city governments, associations and the private sector representing 7 countries and 20 cities from Africa, as well as high-level guests including the Country Director of GIZ, the Kenyan Ministry of Energy, the head of the Romanian Development Agency (RoAid), the City of Gersthofen from Germany, and officials from the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). Representatives from various cities in Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, and Tunisia also contributed to the success of the conference with their presentations of the framework conditions and project examples.
Three main topics were addressed:
Green hydrogen as a potential for local economic development - the workshop emphasized the potential of green hydrogen as an opportunity for economic growth at the local level. Participants explored strategies for using this resource to boost local economies while advancing sustainability goals.
Legal frameworks for renewable energy development - Discussions focused on the importance of legal frameworks that can promote renewable energy development and facilitate collaboration between the country level and cities in Africa. Key stakeholders shared their experiences and lessons learned on effective policy making for the deployment of self-sufficient energy systems at the local level.
Developing bankable renewable energy project ideas - led by city managers from Alba Iulia and Slatina, Romania, participating city representatives were supported to develop renewable energy project ideas through a design thinking process. Representatives from the AfDB and the EIB Gap Fund assessed the feasibility of the project ideas developed.
During the project development phase of this kick-off event, participants worked closely with the German and Romanian experts to design their renewable energy project ideas. More than 12 cities developed project concepts with an average investment volume of about €10 million each, bringing the total investment volume developed to €120 million.
The most important project ideas revolved around the following topics:
Photovoltaic (PV) systems on public buildings
Solar panels on sports facilities, including swimming pools
Mini-grids in less developed areas
Integrated renewable energy with water supply systems
Promotion of electric mobility
Efficient street lighting on major transportation routes
These ideas are in line with the broader objective of promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly energy generation in African cities. The participants discussed such concepts with the EIB Gap Fund and the African Development Bank, setting the stage for potential funding and implementation.
In conclusion, the conference was a remarkable success, fostering collaboration and brainstorming among urban planning professionals, city authorities and development agencies. It represents a significant step towards the realization of renewable energy projects in African cities and has the potential to significantly impact local economies and sustainability efforts. This joint effort holds great promise for the future of renewable energy in African cities and is consistent with our shared commitment to sustainable development.