IRENA, the Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy organisation, has signed an agreement with the African Union Development Agency (AUDA-NEPAD) to support African countries’ access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy. 

A statement from the organisation said 80% of people without access to electricity reside in Sub-Saharan Africa.

IRENA’s director general Francesco La Camera said: “The creation of a more equitable energy system—one that leverages a diverse mix of Africa’s abundant renewable resources -- is dependent upon a more interconnected, flexible and reliable power grid in the region. This partnership serves as a pivotal step towards achieving that objective.”

AUDA-NEPAD CEO Nardos Bekele-Thomas said: “The current business as usual trajectory falls significantly short of achieving universal electricity access by 2040, necessitating a substantial increase in investments to elevate the continent's installed capacity from 266GW to approximately 1,218GW. 

“To realise this ambitious target, an estimated $ 1.29 trillion in cumulative investments will be essential, potentially culminating in the establishment of a robust continental electricity market valued at USD 136 billion by 2040. 

“It is imperative to take urgent and strategic actions to accomplish these transformative goals.”

(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Seban Scaria)