Rome, 15 July 2019 – The Africa Centre for Climate and Sustainable Development (ACSD) and ARE Member RES4Africa Foundation jointly hosted the event “Africa’s Future Counts: Renewables and the Water-Energy-Food Nexus”. The reception was attended by 100 participants from the international renewable energy private sector and the development community. The purpose of the event was to present RES4Africa’s initiatives on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus, and the signing of the “Letter of Intent” between International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and RES4Africa.
Welcome remarks were delivered by Pier Carlo Sandei, Coordinator of the ACSD, Francesco La Camera, Director-General IRENA, Antonio Cammisecra, President of RES4Africa Foundation and CEO of Enel Green Power, and Ernesto Ciorra, Head of Innovability at Enel.
“Africa has a huge renewable energy potential,” stated Pier Carlo Sandei opening the event, “with some of the world’s largest concentration of alternative energy resources in the form of solar, wind, hydro and biomass energy. We all need to support the energy transition of the continent to ensure at the same time the economic development and the achievement of the Paris Agreement”.
RES4Africa Foundation is focusing on the Water-Energy-Food Nexus as one of 2019’s strategic themes to drive Africa’s renewable energy transition. RES4Africa’s flagship publication “Africa’s Future Counts” was presented during the event, following the presentation given to an African audience in Addis Ababa during the foundation’s Annual Conference in June.
“Africa’s Future Counts”, developed in collaboration with Enel Foundation, is the second of a series of annual features that focus on strategic perspectives and themes for Africa’s sustainable energy future. This edition looks at how the WEF Nexus reveals opportunities to overcome Africa’s energy access gaps offering an innovative perspective on bridging the energy access gap by considering energy as an enabler for development and by emphasizing the interdependencies between water, energy and food supply systems.
“Africa’s future prosperity is unthinkable without clean energy access. To overcome the current gap, Africa requires a paradigm shift: from energy as a commodity, to energy as an enabler of services” affirmed Antonio Cammisecra, “The Water-Energy-Food Nexus approach provides a framework for new business models and partnerships that can unlock energy access markets and pave the way for sustainable development”.
“Applying the WEF Nexus approach to catalyse transformational change in Africa”, RES4Africa Foundation’s new study carried out in collaboration with Open Economics, was also presented. The study looks at a WEF nexus project in rural Tanzania integrating hydro-powered mini-grid and agri-business usages that distributes water, power and food services to the surrounding communities. A preliminary cost-benefit analysis reveals that integrated projects have a higher economic impact on a local community compared to a single-service projects. Given that potential for scale-up of impact, RES4Africa Foundation is exploring ways to implement pilot WEF Nexus-based projects in collaboration with international organizations and private sector. The way forward of how to turn the WEF Nexus into reality closed this part of the event.
The event witnessed the signing of a “Letter of Intent” between IRENA and RES4Africa Foundation. The two organisations agreed to cooperate as partners to increase the speed of renewable energy development in Africa in the pursuit of sustainable development and climate goals. IRENA and RES4Africa Foundation will explore public-private initiatives, knowledge creation opportunities, capacity building programmes and strategic dialogues to build an enabling environment for renewable energy in Africa.
“To achieve the sustainable development goals and tackle climate change we must grow the share of global energy supplied by renewables to 50 per cent by mid-century,” said Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA. “That requires a significant scale up of renewable energy deployment, stronger partnerships can accelerate the energy transformation lifting millions of people in rural villages across Africa out of energy poverty and delivering socioeconomic outcomes”.
Through this event, the Africa Centre for Climate and Sustainable Development (ACSD) achieves one of its most relevant goals, exchanging information on intervention and best practices that support the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals with a focus on climate change and clean energy generation. “Climate Smart Integrated Rural Development in the Pastoralist Area of Ethiopia” and “Fossil Fuel Free Green Building Raleigh Memorial Hospital” in Swaziland are some of the projects carried out in the energy focal area by the Centre in order to support all of the continent’s nations and their development partners in becoming a model for sustainable economic, societal and business growth.