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Africa’s Uptake of Renewable Energy is Moving in the Right Direction

The trend is largely driven by solar, with a large pipeline of projects amounting to 1.2 GW expected to come online in 2021 outside South Africa, over double the amount commissioned in 2018. With the right policy framework and investment, Africa could meet a quarter of its indigenous energy needs through renewable sources by 2030, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency. Yet despite Africa’s generous renewable resource endowment, many investors are repelled by perceptions of risk, financing shortfalls, the dominant role of national power utilities and a preference in some countries to exploit fossil fuels. The continent with the richest solar resources in the world has to date installed only 5 GW of solar PV, less than 1% of the global total, according to the International Energy Agency. In a bid to ramp up investment, multilateral lenders and academic institutions are launching initiatives to boost private sector and government cooperation.