Monday, June 17, 2024

New report urges Africa to use renewable energy for infrastructure development | Headlines

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A new annual study on the State of Africa’s Infrastructure, initiated by the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), underscores an unprecedented opportunity for Africa to accelerate development by aligning its abundant renewable energy resources with solutions for its infrastructure deficiencies.

The report, which delves into critical gaps in key sectors such as power, transport, logistics, digital communications, and commodity-based value chains, aims to quantify Africa’s infrastructure opportunities and provide strategic guidance for prioritizing investments crucial for sustainable growth.

One of the key findings highlights the discrepancy between Africa’s infrastructure development and the growing needs of its population. The continent’s reliance on outdated pit-to-port models is identified as a hindrance to economic growth. However, the report identifies global economic shifts in supply chains and the transition to green energy as an opportunity for Africa to redefine its economic role by leveraging its rich raw materials and youthful population.

To seize this pivotal moment, the report emphasizes the need for decisive and urgent action to develop infrastructure and value chains essential for industrialization and climate-adaptive development.

Energy access emerges as a cornerstone for development, with the report underscoring the disparity in access to electricity as a significant barrier to industrial growth. Progress in energy access should not only focus on reducing household energy poverty but also on providing sustainable energy solutions that support industrial and economic development. The report introduces new metrics such as the Modern Energy Minimum to illustrate the potential for growth by bridging Africa’s energy deficit.

Using Guinea as a case study, the report highlights the inability to fully capitalize on abundant resources due to inadequate investments in energy systems and processing facilities. Contrasting Guinea with Australia, which extracts more economic value from similar bauxite reserves, underscores the urgent need for West Africa to develop robust energy systems and processing infrastructure.

The report also stresses the importance of coordinating transport and logistics networks to reduce high transportation costs, which inflate the price of goods. It identifies opportunities to support trade corridors with new cross-border rail and road networks and expand cargo handling at airports.

AFC President & CEO, Samaila Zubairu, emphasized that the report is not merely about identifying challenges but about unlocking immense potential through collective resolve. He called for stakeholders across the continent to collaborate for a smarter, more targeted, and better-coordinated investment approach.     

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