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Joint green efforts by Africa, China key to growth


Published:

2024-06-05

Africa's vast potential for renewable energy, combined with China's technological expertise and investment capacity, presents a unique opportunity for mutual economic growth, experts say.

This collaboration can drive sustainable development, alleviate energy poverty and stimulate economic activities across the African continent, they said.

Speaking during the African Development Bank Group's annual meeting in Kenya's capital Nairobi, which concluded on Friday, Kevin Kariuki, the bank's vice-president for power, energy, climate and green growth, said the continent needs to tap into renewable energy for industrial growth.

"I believe that by investing in Africa's renewable energy infrastructure, China can help build large-scale solar farms, wind farms and hydroelectric plants. These investments can provide reliable and affordable energy, which is crucial for economic growth."

The continent has not fully tapped into its renewable energy sector, according to the State of Africa's Infrastructure Report 2024 published last month by the Africa Finance Corporation.

This has continued to affect its economic growth rate, especially in the manufacturing sector, the report said.

"Our inability to tap into the renewable energy sector continues to slow down our growth rate," African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina said.

"Today our continent harnesses only a fraction of its renewable energy resources, with 1 percent of its solar potential, 5 percent of gas-to-power, 6 percent of geothermal, 7 percent of wind and 11 percent of hydropower. Hence, we cannot compete with other regions."

Africa should forge renewable collaboration with China to unlock its energy potential, Adesina said.

Expanded investment

In recent years, China has expanded investment in renewable energy in Africa. In Garissa County, Kenya, a Chinese-built solar power plant has contributed to Kenya's energy grid, supporting local industries and communities, while helping reduce more than 43,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, Kenya's Rural Electrification and Renewable Energy Corporation said.