India, Africa and the next big clean energy transition
African nations show great interest in the India-led International Solar Alliance.
With drastically falling technology costs, renewable energy has become a cost-effective option of generating clean power all over the world.
Couple that with the fact that nearly 600 million Africans still do not have access to modern sources of electricity, and the tremendous opportunities for clean energy in Africa become all the more glaring.
Focus on renewables
According to IRENA’s Scaling Up Renewable Energy Deployment report, Africa has the potential to install 310 gigawatts of clean renewable power – or half the continent’s total electricity generation capacity – to meet nearly a quarter of its energy needs by 2030. It is therefore crucial for Africa to step up its efforts to generate significant investments and business opportunities to boost the growth of renewable energy in the continent.
That’s one key reason why the Indian government said last week it was committed to supporting Africa’s energy transition through rapid deployment of clean energy technologies. Addressing a virtual event, Indian Minister of External Affairs Dr S Jaishankar said New Delhi’s activities and initiatives in African nations are designed to respond to the needs of Africa and the priority of its people. African nations have shown "great interest" in the India-led International Solar Alliance, he said.
“India is committed to supporting Africa's energy transition through rapid deployment of clean energy technologies. African nations have shown great interest in the International Solar Alliance,” Dr Jaishankar said at the inaugural session of 16th CII-EXIM Bank Conclave on India and Africa Project Partnership.
"Whether it is in power, water or agriculture, a closer collaboration can help build Africa greener. The full potential of our green technology and practices should be more aggressively exploited in the days to come," he added.
Building a resilient economy
IRENA estimates that Africa requires an annual investment of $70 billion in renewable energy projects until 2030 for clean energy transformation to take place. The clean energy access would increase energy security, create green jobs, and support key developing outcomes such as improved healthcare and education. Additionally, renewable energy deployment would curb the rising carbon emissions and enhance Africa’s resilience to climate change impacts.
Dr Jaishankar listed out four domains that should become the focus of India-Africa collaborative activities: Public health, digital delivery, skilling and capacity building, and green economy.
Jaishankar noted that as the world seeks to come out of the COVID-19 pandemic, the partnership between Africa and India assumes even greater salience.
“Over the last 15 editions, this conclave has helped build bridges and strengthen economic and commercial engagements. It has created capacity, encouraged networking and widened our horizon," he said. "The result of that is visible in India's growing presence in Africa as much as in Africa's deeper collaboration with Indian institutions and companies," he added.
"Our activities and initiatives are designed to respond to the needs of Africa and the priority of its people. It envisages co-capabilities and co-benefits while promoting local ownership. As a result, we see a unique level of trust that is even more valuable as we contemplate more challenges ahead," he said.