Cameroon is looking to solar power, introducing significant tax cuts to attract funding for projects that could grow and stabilise the country’s energy grid while lowering carbon emissions. Among the incentives, which went into effect late last year, are a 10-year elimination of several taxes, including stamp duty, on equipment used to build renewable energy projects. The country earlier reduced customs duties on imported renewable products. The idea is to bring a stable power supply to more Cameroonians, especially in rural areas, Pierre Narcisse Massoma Bille, director of renewable energy at the ministry of water & energy, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Some industry experts applaud the move, saying it could prove a model for other African countries looking to tap their solar potential. But others warn that if Cameroon’s green energy sector grows too big and too fast, corruption and a lack of local technical expertise could dim its solar ambitions. Cameroon wants to electrify more of the country and increase its grid capacity from 1,500MW to 5,000MW by 2030. It also wants to reduce its dependence on hydropower by getting a quarter of its electricity supply from other renewable sources by 2035, up from just 6% today, according to government figures. The tax cuts also should make it easier for major international players to expand their solar investments, said Edmonde Djiokeng Teboh, a spokesperson for technology firm Huawei, one of several Chinese companies putting money into Cameroon’s renewables sector.
SOURCE: BUSINESS DAY LIVE