The U.S. government has announced plans to ramp up climate change funding for Africa. Michael Jordan, a senior adviser to the U.S. government’s Power Africa program revealed the report and said that the President Biden administration hopes to win the backing of Congress to double the volume of finance awarded annually to developing countries.
The senior adviser to the Power Africa initiative run by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), said the president intends to triple its climate change-related adaptation finance by 2024.
“The Power Africa scheme is supporting African utilities in developing new business models, particularly in the low-margin markets of sub-Saharan Africa, Jordan told the webinar, and is also exploring the productive use of solar power in agriculture and other sectors. Agrivoltaics is a good example of how innovation can drive down African power costs,” said the USAID adviser.
“There is a great opportunity for innovation to bring down the cost of power, make utilities more sustainable [and] help private and public sector investments,” said Jordan. “Innovation is not only key but essential and needs to be supported through all avenues, whether it’s public or private sector or a combination of both,” he added
Jordan pointed to clean power mini-grids as the most successful form of renewables deployment across the continent but said such systems still require an element of subsidy. James Mackay, strategy and Africa south market lead for energy at accountant PwC South Africa, pointed to recent data which indicated the volume of power generation capacity added across Africa last year was at its lowest since 2008, with most of the new plants government-funded fossil fuel facilities.
Mackay highlighted estimates the energy transition could mean as much as US$1 trillion of public money could be invested into stranded fossil fuel assets and Angela Nalikka, manager for national and regional power systems at the African Development Bank (AfDB), said fossil fuels were the biggest hurdle to renewables deployment on the continent.