President Samia Hassan will present an $18 billion plan to build renewable power generation in southern Africa at talks in Egypt as leaders from the continent seek to increase climate finance in the region.
Under the proposal, a bloc of 12 countries in the region would increase generation by about 8.4 gigawatts from sources such as solar and wind, Tanzanian Energy Minister January Makamba said in an interview. Hassan is scheduled to host a meeting of the nations’ leaders and financial institutions on Tuesday at the COP27 climate summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
The move may help Hassan goad developed nations, who have been asking African economies to focus on renewable energy instead of fossil fuels, to back up their call with financing. There’s also been a trickle of funding for renewable energy projects on the continent, which made up about 1% of the global total of renewables deals last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“It’s a very timely occasion at this COP to talk about infusing renewables” into the Southern African Power Pool, Makamba said. “You want us to transition? This is the opportunity.”
South Africa, which is the continent’s most industrialized nation and mainly depends on coal for power, is working on an $8.5 billion climate-finance deal to transition from the dirty fuel. The government has proposed to spend 90% of the funding offered by wealthy nations on replacing the plants with renewable generation.
Tanzania is part of the Southern African Power Pool, or SAPP, a regional grid started in 1995 that has projects including new transmission lines across Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Congo.
With about 60% of the power in the Southern Africa Power Pool generated by coal, Hassan is leading the nations to encourage investment to boost the generation of renewable energy and expand the transmission network by 2,500 kilometers (1,553 miles), according to Makamba.
“Given the low access levels and low consumption levels, the opportunity to scale is massive,” he said.