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Visas in Africa are Barriers to Trade and Movement, Says President Ruto

President William Ruto has urged African countries to rethink their visa regimes to boost intra-Africa trade and position the continent for true transformation.

African governments, the President said, should facilitate “people-to-people, business-to-business and government-to-government affairs,” not create barriers.

“The people who introduced visas to Africa have abandoned them. In Europe today, citizens of the 27 countries in the European Union don’t need visas to travel from one country to the other,” he said.

He spoke on Thursday when he met President Emerson Mnangagwa’s special envoy, Ambassador Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, at State House Nairobi.

President Ruto said he will hold discussions with his Zimbabwean counterpart on a visa-free regime between the two countries.

He also said they will discuss the need for more flights from Nairobi to Harare and vice versa.

President Ruto said Kenya opposes the continued economic sanctions against Zimbabwe, adding that they are unnecessary.

“At a time of economic difficulty, climate change effects, and pandemics, sanctions only exacerbate the burden on the citizens of Zimbabwe,” he said.

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AfCFTA: An opportunity for Africa’s youth to accelerate trade and industrialization

The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is an opportunity for young people to accelerate Africa’s industrialization and economic transformation through entrepreneurship, youths say, calling for an enabling policy framework.

Through its Youth Protocol, the AfCFTA recognises that young people can play a critical role in the achievement of the free trade zone by initiating youth-led initiatives in agriculture, financial technology, IT and in the creative industry.

However, they note that across the youth-dominant trade areas critical to the AfCFTA, the challenges of infrastructure gap, lack of access to modern technologies, funding, electricity and broadband internet keep the youth on the sidelines of the free trade area.

At an online presentation meeting organized by the Regional Integration and Trade Division (RITD) of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), nine young mentees who have completed RITD’s “Youth for AfCFTA Mentorship Programme”, presented their final assignment to senior staff in ECA. The youth participants highlighted that the AfCFTA presented huge entrepreneurship opportunities for them but that governments need to implement supportive policies and investment to ensure their participation.

Ms. Mie Vedel-Joergensen, Associate Expert in Economic Affairs, Market Institutions Section of the Regional Integration and Trade Division (RITD) at the ECA said mentees of the “Youth for AfCFTA Mentorship Programme” are winners of a competition launched in March 2022 which led to the mentorship programme in ECA. The competition with the topic; “The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA): What is in it for young Africans?” was developed by the Youth Alliance for Leadership and Development in Africa (YALDA) in collaboration with the AfCFTA Secretariat, Afreximbank, the International Trade Centre (ITC), the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and ECA. The competition encouraged participants to develop essays, infographics or animation to communicate the potential impact of the AfCFTA on youth in Africa.

The youth participants highlighted that the AfCFTA presented huge entrepreneurship opportunities for them but that governments need to implement supportive policies and investment

According to YALDA, the competition aimed to break information asymmetry among youth on the AfCFTA and promote a bottom-up approach to the policy formulation and implementation by harnessing innovative youth-driven solutions that will contribute to active youth engagement in the popularization of the AfCFTA.

Noting that young people can influence policy decisions in favour of the AfCFTA in addition to providing labour, Ms. Jessica Debby Ndjadila, mentee of the Essay group, said Africa’s youth understood the technology enablers of the free trade area such as Information Technology, supply chain management, and financial technology.

“African governments should prioritize intellectual property rights protection,” Ms. Ndjadila said, calling for fiscal policies to drive entrepreneurs into content distribution and the democratization of access to broadband connectivity.

Africa also needs to operationalise the  Pan African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), a centralized payment and settlement system for intra-African trade in goods and services developed in  2022. The platform would increase the competitiveness of and investment in youth-dominated start-ups in Africa.

Another group of youth developed an infographic to highlight the benefits of gender inclusion in the AfCFTA. Noting that Sub Saharan  Africa was losing an average of $95 billion annually as a result of gender inequality, the youth felt that investment in mobile and digital solutions can bridge the gender gap in Africa where the proportion of women using the internet was 25% lower than men.

“Implementation of the AfCFTA would increase employment opportunities and wages for unskilled workers and help close the gender wage gap,” said Mr. Richard Muraya, a youth whose group developed an infographic highlighting the opportunity cost of gender inclusion in the AfCFTA.

Mr. Stephen Karingi, Director of Regional Integration and Trade Division at ECA said young people fully understand what the AfCFTA is all about and their information products should be promoted in giving policymakers the right narrative about the free trade area. Besides, the youth have well demonstrated the potential of the AfCFTA and the issues that must be addressed by the protocols developed for the realization of the free trade area.

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IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva to visit Zambia, Rwanda- sources

 International Monetary Fund chief Kristalina Georgieva will visit Rwanda later this month after traveling to Zambia, three sources familiar with the plans said on Friday.

Georgieva on Thursday said she would visit Zambia the week after next, but her visit to Rwanda has not been previously reported. Georgieva will travel to Africa after speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland next week.

The IMF had no immediate comment.

Rwanda was the first African country to receive IMF funding under its new Resilience and Sustainability Trust. The IMF in October reached a staff-level agreement with Rwanda on a 36-month financing package valued at $310 million.

At the time, the IMF said the funding would help the country move forward with its economic reforms and build resilience against climate change.

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Announcing Africa Accelerating 2023 in Toronto: October 10-12

The three-day conference will address and advance the immense opportunities for rapidly accelerating Canada-Africa trade and investment ties.

‘’The 2023 conference in Toronto provides a phenomenal opportunity to welcome African business delegates to Canada’s largest city while offering an enabling platform for networking, B2B meetings, and dealmaking in and around the 3-day program,’’ said Garreth Bloor, President of The Canada-Africa Chamber of Business.

Last year’s 2022 Africa Accelerating conference in Johannesburg, South Africa – sponsored by Ivanhoe Mines Ltd – took place under the theme, Leading from Africa: Toward a new global era enabled through Canada-Africa Collaboration.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was among those who addressed the event in October, joined by government heads, African Union leaders, corporate executives, and entrepreneurs.

The 2023 conference in Toronto provides a phenomenal opportunity to welcome African business delegates to Canada’s largest city

Registration for Africa Accelerating 2023 opens on 16 January 2023. The official theme to be announced will encompass raising investment capital, trade opportunities, new business partnerships, infrastructure, and responsible resource development – building on the track record and lessons learned on the foundation of billions already invested into African markets, through Canada.

Africa Accelerating 2023 will once again include a live interactive virtual participation option. Plenary proceedings will be broadcast to 47 countries, with a reach of an estimated 20 million viewers – showcasing the immense opportunities for all through the acceleration of Canada-Africa trade and investment.

‘’Toronto is a gateway to North American markets and directly connected by air to the African continent,’’ noted Garreth Bloor. ‘’For all joining us in person, our host city provides vital linkages to project partners and investors, driving the two-way trade and investment for deal-making that is at the core of our action-driven agenda for Africa Accelerating 2023.’’


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USAID Announces New Initiatives, Strengthens Global Partnerships and Alliances at United States-Africa Leaders Summit

During the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, USAID Administrator Samantha Power and other senior Agency representatives reinforced the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to revitalizing global partnerships and alliances across the African continent. Through a number of new initiatives, events, and bilateral meetings, Administrator Power showcased how the United States is collaborating with Africa on the most pressing global challenges and opportunities, including catalyzing private sector partnerships, improving food security, supporting emerging democracies, and responding to the climate crisis.

Promoting an inclusive partnership between civil society and governments

On December 13, Administrator Power hosted the opening session, “Inclusive Partnerships to Advance Agenda 2063,” of the Civil Society Forum at the United States Institute for Peace. She opened the forum with remarks that emphasized the importance of partnerships between civil society and government, urging the audience to embrace ideas from all corners and be open to the views of those outside government. The forum brought together civil society representatives, African heads of delegation and other government officials, and senior U.S. government officials for an exchange of ideas on promoting anti-corruption reforms, protecting workers’ rights, and ensuring that marginalized voices are represented in public life.

Investing in Africa’s health workforce and building more resilient health systems

This week, USAID announced several new partnerships and initiatives to continue to build more resilient health systems across Africa. USAID outlined the Biden-Harris Administration’s plans to reduce inequities in access to health services through strategic and coordinated investments in the health workforce, especially to close the workforce gap in Africa. Recognizing that primary healthcare-oriented health systems, anchored by a strengthened primary health workforce deliver markedly better results, from lower mortality to improved equity, and increased cost efficiency, USAID announced the initial five partner countries – Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Nigeria – for its new Accelerating Primary Health Care Collaborative. The Collaborative will harness the USAID and PMI health footprints in these five countries to reclaim lost ground on global health and foster resilience and preparedness against future threats.

During the U.S.-Africa Business Forum, USAID and the Development Finance Corporation jointly announced the new Transform Health Fund, for which USAID will provide $1 million in catalytic grant funding. The Fund supports locally-led supply chain transformation, innovative care delivery, and digital solutions to secure Africa’s healthcare future, and has now reached total approved commitments of $50 million. These are just a few of the ways USAID will deliver with impact on the continent, along with our additional investments for COVID-19 relief, global health security, and health facility electrification.

Improving lives and promoting peace through democratic reforms and the rule of law

On December 13, Administrator Power attended the Peace, Security, and Governance Forum to discuss the importance of the rule of law, democratic reforms, and the corrosive impacts of unrestrained use of force. She urged attention to supporting issues such as improving livelihoods and economic opportunities, climate-resilient agriculture, and the provision of basic services as integral parts of stabilization.

President Biden announced plans to provide $2 billion in life-saving assistance, through USAID, to support crisis-affected people in Africa

Supporting Africa’s young leaders

On December 13, Vice President Harris announced plans to work with Congress to fund a U.S. government investment of more than $100 million in the Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). As part of this expansion and in collaboration with partners, USAID will create the Young African Leaders Exchange, the first pan-African virtual platform that will enable the Diaspora and other key stakeholders to connect directly with nearly 28,000 YALI alumni from 49 sub-Saharan countries. The Exchange will promote networking, strengthen the role of mentors and coaches, showcase initiatives, enhance women and marginalized youth’s leadership, and support young African leaders to access grant or internship opportunities.

Tackling the climate crisis and harnessing the opportunity to generate jobs, grow clean energy economies, and build resilient communities

On December 13, Administrator Power spoke at the Supporting Conservation, Climate Adaptation, and a Just Energy Transition Session, where she highlighted U.S. and African partnerships addressing conservation and highlighted the need for African countries to both benefit from, and preserve, natural resources. She lifted up USAID’s work with partners throughout Africa to protect the continent’s forests from illegal logging, and other bad practices such as unplanned agricultural expansion, so communities can sustainably use their forests for their livelihoods for generations to come.

On December 14, USAID announced a Global Development Alliance – one of the largest in USAID history. The Health Electrification and Telecommunication Alliance is a five-year cooperative agreement that will invest USAID resources to leverage more than $150 million of additional private sector resources to install reliable, renewable power and provide mobile network and Internet access for at least 10,000 health facilities across sub-Saharan Africa. The announcement follows USAID Power Africa’s call for new business approaches based on the latest clean energy technology.

USAID also announced a new Prosper Africa partnership with ThirdWay Partners and The Nature Conservancy to protect African landscapes and bolster the tourism sector. With $2.5 million in catalytic funding from USAID, ThirdWay, and the Nature Conservancy will unlock a $75 million Africa Conservation and Communities Tourism Fund to assist safari tour operators across Africa. This will benefit 44,000 community members and generate $40 million in annual revenue for conservation landscape owners, managers, and communities. With a protected area larger than the U.S. state of California, the fund will cover parts of Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to communities in need

President Biden announced plans to provide $2 billion in life-saving assistance, through USAID, to support crisis-affected people in Africa. Humanitarian crises, from catastrophic drought to torrential flooding, continue to affect countries across the continent. This urgently needed humanitarian assistance includes emergency food, shelter, critical healthcare, water, sanitation and hygiene support, gender-based violence survivor services and other protection support, and critical nutrition services. It will help the people of African nations hardest hit by disasters recover and withstand future crises, as well as mitigate the impacts of the historic levels of growing food insecurity and malnutrition.

The United States, through USAID, also provided an additional $2.5 million in humanitarian assistance in response to persistent needs following unprecedented flooding in Chad. This life-saving relief is critical as some communities remain without access to food assistance, health care, shelter, and safe water sources.

Addressing the global food security crisis

On December 14, USAID announced through the Prosper Africa Initiative a new partnership to increase the supply and quality of maize on the African continent, initially in Zambia. The partnership is possible thanks to support from agribusiness and energy firm AfricaGlobal Schaffer, infrastructure firm Bechtel’s social impact company bechtel .or, and South Africa-based firm Export Trading Group and its social impact arm, Empowering Farmers Foundation. In response to the global food security crisis, USAID is leveraging U.S. taxpayer funds by collaborating with businesses motivated to improve market systems. USAID’s investment through the TradeBoost program is also making this new partnership possible. USAID’s funds will be matched 1:1 by the private sector partners to magnify their potential to improve food security and increase shared prosperity.

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Ghana Will Soon Have One of the Most Digitalized Healthcare Systems in Africa– Dr Bawumia

Ghana is on the verge of running one of the most digitalized healthcare systems in Africa, with many digital interventions scheduled to be fully nationally on stream by the end of 2024, Vice President Mahamudu Bawumia has indicated.

According to Dr Bawumia, this has become possible due to the several digital interventions introduced since 2017, as well as the massive infusion of digital technology into existing operations, which has led to greater access to healthcare services as well as revolutionized healthcare delivery.

The Vice President made the disclosure while speaking on “The Role of Digitalization in Modern Healthcare Delivery: Recounting Ghana’s ICT Journey in the Fourth Republic” in Tamale at the launch of the National Health Insurance Authority’s ‘Active Month’ celebrations on Monday, December 5, 2022

“The Government of President Akufo-Addo since January 2017 has been at the forefront of providing improved public service delivery using digital solutions. One key area we have been pursuing aggressively is social and health services delivery to the population.

“The role of digital health solutions in our healthcare sector cannot be overemphasized. Over the last few years, we have embarked on digitalization drive in the health sector as a response to the World Health Organization (WHO) calls for member countries to implement digital health interventions in their health systems to improve access to care and well-being for their populations,” he explained.


Outlining some of the digital interventions introduced so far, Dr Bawumia stated:

“Early this year… we launched a digital health solution in the pharmaceutical space, called the National Electronic Pharmacy Platform (NEPP), where clients can use their mobile phones to order their prescriptions to be delivered to them at the comfort of their homes.

“This digital innovation is also meant to check counterfeit or substandard medicines and help eliminate them in our Pharmacies and chemical shops. It will also help the menace of drug abuse. The technology developer is currently engaging the National Health Insurance Authority on the technical and operational feasibility of the platform in the NHIS. We are also enrolling the top 100 pharmacies. Government is very keen on getting the platform fused into the NHIS operations by January next year. This will make Ghana the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to have a nationwide E-pharmacy.

“Government has also introduced flexibility through the Lightwave Health Management Information System (LHIMS) and other technological platforms to manage electronic medical records without the use of printed booklets of patient’s folders and avoid the possibility of patients’ medical records getting lost.

“So far, 147 hospitals have been networked, including the Teaching Hospitals, such as Tamale, Cape Coast, Komfo Anokye, Ho, and Korle-Bu, as well as many secondary and primary health facilities, making patient records available to all these facilities without the use of folders. By end of next year, we will have networked about 80% of all hospitals, and by the end of the following year, we will complete the networking of 100% of all our hospitals. This will make us the first country in Africa and one of a few in the world to have such a nationwide system.”

He continued: “Government’s introduction of the Zipline services in 2019 to improve medical supplies has expanded from one distribution hub to six hubs in the remote areas, making Ghana, home to the world’s largest fleet of medical-delivery drones.

“Zipline drones have undertaken 278,936 flights since their inception, making over 12 million deliveries, comprising of 8.63 million lifesaving medical products or medicines, about 1.9 million child immunization vaccine consumables, and over 1.9 million COVID-19 vaccines and PPEs. It has also made very significant savings for the nation, both in lives and resources,” he revealed. The Vice President noted that Ghana’s medical drone delivery service is the largest in the world and saves many lives daily.


Lauding the management of the National Health Insurance Authority for infusing digitalization into the operations of the NHIS, Vice President Bawumia said the Scheme, since its introduction, has no doubt, contributed to increased utilization of healthcare services, leading to improved health outcomes of the population.

“The NHIS has gone through several reforms over the years to improve its services to the members. On 9th November, 2019, I personally launched the NHIS- Ghana card linkage at the Accra International Conference Centre and today, over 5 million members of the NHIS have been linked to their Ghana Cards to enable them to use the Ghana card to access healthcare since 1st of May, 2020.

“Hopefully, when all members of the scheme are linked to their Ghana Cards, the NHIS card will be phased out and the Ghana Card will be the sole card for accessing healthcare services in the credentialled healthcare facilities.

“Aside from this, Government has also embarked on a project, together with the National Identification Authority (NIA), National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), Ghana Health Service, and Births and Deaths Registry, to link births and deaths data to the NIA database to give unique identification numbers to all newborn babies starting the first quarter of next year.

“The NHIA has implemented electronic medical claims (Claim-IT) to reduce turnaround time for claims preparation and submission and reduce spurious claims and cost to the scheme for increased sustainability.

“Currently, close to 3000 healthcare providers, representing 70% are submitting medical claims electronically. The scale-up of this digital innovation is ongoing. All providers submitting manual claims have been trained and hopefully, the over 5000 credentialed healthcare providers of the scheme will start submitting electronic claims by end of the second quarter of 2023.”

As well, healthcare providers wishing to join the scheme can now apply using an online application system, reducing the turnaround time for processing the applications as well as saving the cost of paper applications with copies of accompanying documents such as certificates and traveling costs.

The NHIA is also updating its database with the locations of all facilities by picking the GPS coordinates in line with the Government’s Agenda on address system to ease communication and assessment, according to officials of the Scheme.

The launch in 2018 of the NHIA Electronic receipting platform to enhance social auditing and accountability of revenue collection at NHIA district offices across the country has helped to establish daily premium collection and improve accountability and transparency in revenue mobilization, NHIA officials say. It has also substantially promoted the electronic reconciliation of financial accounts and promote transparency and efficiency in the financial operations of the scheme.

Highlighting other digital interventions, such as the introduction of a mobile renewal system to enable old members whose cards have expired to conveniently renew their cards using mobile phones, and the launch today of an improved portal dubbed “MyNHIS app” which allows new members to register using the Ghana Card, Dr. Bawumia challenged the NHIA to continue to introduce digital innovations in other operational areas of the scheme to improve services for the members.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health and its allied agencies are also seriously brainstorming on telemedicine, making it possible for Ghanaians to receive medical advice via their phones and other devices.

This, coupled with the many interventions in the provision of healthcare and the impending roll-out of the National E-Pharmacy platform has truly set Ghana on the path of having one of Africa’s most digitalized healthcare systems, Dr Bawumia declared.

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AU Member-States Commit to Implementation of Africa’s Asset Recovery Agenda

An extended Common African Position on Asset Recovery (CAPAR) Working Group with more African Union (AU) member-states including the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Nigeria, and Senegal have joined pan-African institutions mandated by the AU Assembly to actively further the implementation of the CAPAR.

The commitment of AU member-states to the implementation of Africa’s Asset Recovery Agenda, the CAPAR, is one of the major outcomes of the high-level technical meeting on the frameworks for its implementation held on the 3rd and 4th November, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

At the meeting which had top government officials and heads of anti-corruption and asset recovery agencies, the aforementioned countries agreed through their respective missions and representatives to propagate the CAPAR, unify its messaging, and deliver necessary political support to its implementation frameworks, as well as its proposed protocol and model agreements.

The high-level meeting, which was jointly organized by the African Union and the Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA), reviewed strategy documents that focused on the legal framework for the recovery of African assets and the proposal for the setting up of an escrow account for African assets.

Discussions focused on experience sharing while ensuring that the frameworks for asset recovery by African States maintained a comprehensive approach in a holistic and economically beneficial way. The meeting also made valid proposals to address key legal issues that African States face in recovering illicit financial outflows and stolen assets.

Participants at the meeting agreed that its outcomes should feed into the updates of the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, the AU Champion on Anti-Corruption, and report of the AU Commissioner of the Political Affairs, Peace and Security to the Assembly of AU Heads of State and Government at its next summit to be held in February, 2023 in view of the nexus between corruption and peace and security.  This is towards greater galvanization of CAPAR’s implementation by all AU member-states and the need to strengthen implementation of the CAPAR at national, sub-regional, and regional levels.

On the escrow account, the African Union committed to facilitating necessary consultations with relevant regional banks to establish escrow accounts to mitigate the losses being experienced by African countries as negotiations drag on too long for the recovery and return of sovereign assets illicitly removed from AU Member-States. It was further agreed that the extended CAPAR Working Group would reconvene in future meetings with the view of engaging additional AU Member-States and advancing the processes to implement the frameworks.

The Secretariat of the AU High-Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa – Coalition for Dialogue on Africa (CoDA) constituted the CAPAR Working Group that guides the necessary actions for the successful popularization and implementation of the CAPAR. In addition to the AU and CoDA, the group is composed of AU Member-States – Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Malawi, Nigeria, and Senegal, as well as relevant African institutions including the African Development Bank (AfDB), African Export-Import  Bank (AFREXIMBANK), ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID), Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU), and the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF).

CAPAR seeks to assist African Union Member States to identify, repatriate and effectively manage these assets in a manner that respects their sovereignty. It outlines Africa’s priorities for asset recovery in four pillars: detection and identification of illicitly removed assets; recovery and return of illicitly removed assets; management of recovered assets; and cooperation and partnerships to harmonize the process of identification and recovery.

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COP27: Wind power can deliver a sustainable future for Africa- Report

We are in the middle of a global energy crisis and a climate change emergency. It is, therefore, more pressing than ever to seriously commit to action plans that will avoid the long-term lock-in of fossil fuel-based energy generation. Instead, greater focus should be placed on increasing renewable contributions within the global energy mix.

This is particularly important for Africa has been more severely hit by climate-change-related events than other regions, and where 43% of the total population lack access to electricity, most of them in sub‐Saharan Africa. The continent is rich in renewable energy sources, particularly solar and wind, and decreasing costs are bringing renewables increasingly within reach, making energy independence achievable.

To attain a successful and just energy transition there needs to be an acceleration of the implementation process. This can happen if partnerships between public stakeholders, and public and private together, are further strengthened, and if steps are taken to safeguard the wind industry supply chain, among other proactive actions. If this is prioritized, then there should be sufficient capacity to help the continent achieve its climate pledges through the implementation of sustainable, renewable green energy.

Climate change is putting Africa’s energy systems at risk of disruption

According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Africa Energy Outlook 2022, “three-fifths of the continent’s thermal power plants are at high, or very high risk of disruption by water stress, and one-sixth of its liquefied natural gas (LNG) capacity is vulnerable to coastal flooding.” To ensure greater resilience there will need to be a significant investment in climate adaptation.

To mitigate the ongoing volatility in the supply and cost of fossil-fuel energy, and the dangers of accelerating climate change, African governments must focus on scaling up higher volumes of renewable energy – in particular wind power — as part of their sustainable energy mixes.

The photo-shoot shows different wind farms: KFW, JICA, FIEM, and BOO Ras Ghareb
The photo-shoot shows different wind farms: KFW, JICA, FIEM, and BOO Ras Ghareb

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) energy progress report of 2021 estimates that 75% of the world’s population without access to electricity is based in Sub-Saharan Africa. It states that to achieve sustainable development goal (SDG) 7.1 — universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy services — Sub-Saharan Africa alone will need to connect approximately 85 million people each year through 2030.

Africa currently accounts for less than 3% of the world’s energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, and it experiences a disproportionate number of negative effects of climate change. According to the IEA, by 2050, North Africa is facing a rise in median temperature of 2.7 degrees Celsius in comparison with the global average rise of 2 degrees Celsius. If not addressed, this could result is a reduction of African gross domestic product (GDP) by around 8 percent in 2050. In East Africa, this figure would be closer to 15 percent.

Wind power as a driver of socio-economic growth in Africa

By increasing renewable energy production targets, national economies stand to benefit from the growing demand for people to work in the green sectors thereby addressing the continent’s unemployment challenges. Nations can also expect augmented investment because of a more stable energy grid and due to cost savings realised by a more competitive energy mix.

The wind industry is of strategic importance. It can provide the world with energy security and independence through domestic, clean, and competitive sources. As different countries consider increasing the percentage of renewable energy in their energy mix, they can take insights from the lessons already learned in Africa and Europe. They can also see the tangible positive impact the wind industry has already had across both continents. These can be studied, and relevant insights applied within their specific environment.

The wind industry started in Northern Europe and Spain in the 1980s, and since then, has burgeoned across the continent. Today, the European Union’s wind energy sector has a significant impact on the EU’s economy, supporting more than 300,000 jobs, contributing €37 billion to the EU’s GDP, and generating €5 billion in local taxes every year. In fact, with each new wind turbine installed in Europe, a further €10 million of economic activity is added.

Progress is also being made across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region, recording in 2021 its best year ever in wind power installations. According to the Global Wind Energy Council, over the next five years (2022 – 2026), MEA is expected to add a total of 14 GW of new wind capacity, primarily driven by growth from South Africa (5.4 GW), Egypt (2.2 GW), Morocco (1.8 GW), and Saudi Arabia (1.3 GW).

IRENA’s modeling reveals that when accompanied by the right policies, shifting towards a renewable energy system could lead to a 6.4% higher GDP, 3.5% more economy-wide jobs, and a 25.4% higher welfare index throughout the outlook period of 2020 to 2050.

Partnerships must drive Africa’s energy transition

Although blessed with abundant renewable sources, like wind and solar, as well as land availability, Africa is only tapping into 0.01% of its wind power potential. Unlocking the potential of wind and solar will also trigger the development of green hydrogen projects in the continent. This will enable the transferring of the benefits of renewables beyond the electricity sector, to achieve a fully decarbonized economy, while enabling energy export capacities.

Uncertainty on wind-enabling frameworks is jeopardizing the full potential that wind can play in accelerating the energy transition while providing clean and competitive energy security. Partnerships, both among public stakeholders as well as between the public and the private sector, can create stability and strengthen the wind energy sector and allow it to contribute to climate crisis mitigation efforts, continue innovating, and provide energy security across the continent.

According to the IEA Africa Energy Outlook report, “Achieving full access to modern energy in Africa by 2030 would require an investment of USD 25 billion per year – equal to around a quarter of total energy investment in Africa prior to the pandemic – but just slightly above 1% of total energy investment globally and comparable to the cost of just one large LNG terminal investment. Almost half of this investment would be in just five countries – DRC, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda.”

When you consider that 46 of Africa’s 54 countries are classed as low-income or lower-middle-income according to the World Bank, it makes sense that for a successful transition to renewable energy to occur, partnerships are the most feasible way forward, as it would be difficult for governments, or the private sector to bear these costs alone.  The role of power pools in Africa and, thus, the collaboration between countries and regions, is essential to unleashing the full potential that wind can bring to combat climate change and bring prosperity based on a decarbonized economy. These partnerships can pave the way for a just energy transition enabling people coming from fossil-fuel-based energy sectors to be re-skilled and secure their rights and livelihoods in the shift to sustainable energy production.

While ambitious global political targets have been set, there is a significant mismatch between stated targets and actual wind capacity installation figures which are substantially lower. By accelerating the approval of wind power plant permits, governments could close the gap between the targets and actual production, improving energy independence and geopolitical stability, while alleviating the pressure that the wind supply chain suffers from due to a lack of projects.

Partnerships between governments and the wind industry are crucial in our fight against the climate crisis. To succeed in a just energy transition, governments must continue to attract international investment, and for that, they need to deliver visible project pipelines for wind energy installations, especially in the MEA region. This means investors require stable and predictable frameworks and a clear implementation pace so that manufacturers and suppliers can load existing factories and plan in advance for new capacities.

This would create greater stability in the industry and increase its ability to hire and upskill teams. While there will be challenges to overcome to ensure a just energy transition, wind power has the distinct ability to deliver sustainably for both people and the planet. By focusing on the development of cohesive and inclusive policies, streamlining permitting schemes, fostering multilateral renewable energy partnerships and trade agreements, and investing in the acceleration of renewable electricity grid construction, African governments can move closer to achieving more than just SDG7. In doing so, they could reap the socio-economic benefits that wind energy offers, while increasing their country’s energy security, and contributing to global efforts to combat climate change.

The COP27 Climate Change Conference taking place in Egypt in November 2022 provides a golden opportunity for global leaders to collaborate on workable solutions that will drive important climate change mitigation. The time to act is now.


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AfDB secures $31 billion at investment forum

The African Development Bank raised $31 billion in investment commitments for projects during the Africa Investment Forum, said the bank’s president Akinwumi Adesina at the end of the three-day meeting on Friday.

It brings the total investment for the year to about $64 billion, said Adesina. The bank secured $32.8 billion at another meeting with investors in March.

Adesina gave few details about the projects but said one focus would be agricultural processing zones.

Projects announced earlier in the year were from sectors including agriculture and agro-processing, education, energy and climate, healthcare, minerals and mining, and information and communications technology

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