Investment in West Africa – Renewables on the rise…

flag of the Economic Community of West African...
flag of the Economic Community of West African States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

REN21 recently participated at the ECOWAS Renewable Energy Investment Week in Accra, Ghana. Coordinated by ECREEE (the ECOWAS Center for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency) this conference celebrated the second year of ECREEE’s RE Investment Initiative. This initiative works to reduce one of the main bottlenecks in region—the mobilisation of investments for RE infrastructure projects. Perhaps the most interesting part of the conference was the ten investor-ready clean energy projects from around the region. The range of project was impressive. Interested in a wave powered desalinisation plant in Cape Verde? How about pay-as-you-go solar technology in Nigeria or the commercialisation of biomass in Senegal? Regardless of geographic or technical preference it is clear that there is a real entrepreneurial drive in West Africa to increase energy access. Securing the necessary financing however still remains a problem. The financial environment is still too risky for most investors and the returns too low. However as presentation and discussions illustrated governments and development banks are stepping into the void; creative solutions are beginning to emerge. It will be interesting to see one year on how well these partnerships are able to fill this important funding gap.

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