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First Virtual UK-Africa Renewable Energy Symposium – main conclusions

The UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT) hosted the first-ever virtual UK-Africa Renewable Energy Ministerial Symposium, on December 3, which brought together British and African leaders, key private sector players and UK companies to exchange best practices, align objectives, and explore bilateral opportunities to deepen UK-Africa collaboration in the renewable energy sector.

The Ministerial symposium was moderated by Alastair Long, Her Majesty’s Deputy Commissioner for Trade for Africa, and six African energy ministers along with the UK Minister for Exports Graham Stuart MP participated in three panels and two presentations, where opportunities and challenges of the renewable energy sector Africa and the UK’s role in fomenting development were discussed, including financing alternatives for public and private sector projects.

Also read: Abu Dhabi Wealth Fund targets Africa, renewables to lift returns

Alastair Long, Her Majesty’s Deputy Trade Commissioner for Africa delivered the opening speech for the event. Minister Graham Stuart MP moderated the Ministerial panel, which addressed opportunities, and challenges for renewables in Africa. African officials on this panel included:

  • HE. Dr. Mohamed Shaker, Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy, Egypt
  • HE. Abdessalam Mohamed Salih, Minister of Energy, Mauritania
  • Mr. Aziz Rabbah, Minister of Energy, Mining and Environment, Morocco
  • HE. Dr. António Osvaldo Saide, Chairman of the Board of Directors of FUNAE (Mozambique Energy Fund)
  • HE. Dr. Engr. Seleshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Ethiopia
  • Hon. Engr. Simon D’Ujanga, Minister of State for Energy and Mineral Development, Uganda

The second panel was dedicated to discussing UK capabilities and was chaired by Alastair Long, Her Majesty’s Deputy Trade Commissioner for Africa. Participants included Globeleq, Aggreko, Winch Energy, Rolls Royce, Mott McDonald, Ryse Energy, Energy Storage Africa, Malaby Biogas and Konexa.

The third panel focused on financing renewable energy opportunities and projects, and featured panellists from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), UK Export Finance (UKEF), Standard Bank, and CDC Group.

Emma Wade-Smith, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa said:

“I am proud that the UK Government is hosting this symposium, which highlights the UK is working hand in hand with African leaders in the renewable energy space. Our discussions were fruitful and enlightening, and helped us illustrate how African nations can harness UK finance, investment, technology and grant opportunities to further their goals. This is in line with the UK’s hosting of COP26 next year, for which we are committed to increase our climate
ambitions and to galvanise and inspire climate action across the world.’’

Dr. António Osvaldo Saide affirmed that:

“Clean energy will play a major role in powering the Mozambican economy through investment to develop projects for the productive use of energy, create income-generating activities and stimulate employment, all of which are central to poverty reduction, particularly in rural areas. The Government of Mozambique counts on the strong support and involvement of British companies to invest in our emerging energy sector.”

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of FUNAE (Mozambique Energy Fund), HE. Dr. António Osvaldo Saide, also attended the symposium with the intent of collaborating and exploring bilateral opportunities in the renewable energy sector.

In Mozambique, a recently launched auction programme marked a new approach in the procurement of renewable energy projects. It introduced a competitive and transparent bidding mechanism to select strategic partners for the development, construction and operation of three solar photovoltaic power plants of 30 Megawatts each and a wind farm of 40 Megawatts.

The Offgrid market also offers opportunities to structure initiatives to ensure the supply of energy services to 1.5 million people over the next 4 years particularly through the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) BRILHO programme.


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