Kenya’s President William Ruto has urged the EU and national governments to increase investment in African clean energy infrastructure to ensure Africa’s most important partner in the energy transition.

“With the right level of investment, Africa can provide energy access for all by 2030 while reducing total emissions related to energy generation by approximately 80%,” Ruto said at the Berlin Energy Transition Dialogue earlier this week hosted by the German government. 

Ruto, who was narrowly elected in disputed presidential elections last August, has promised to make Kenya one of the continent’s leaders in green energy. 

Speaking in Berlin, Ruto said that the planned EU carbon border adjustment mechanism should encourage low-emissions production from the continent.  

He added that the bloc could enhance innovative financing by using more high-quality African carbon credits in EU emission trading markets, which offer core benefits such as increased biodiversity and improved livelihoods.

Ruto called for cooperation in ensuring support for the places that are doing “the difficult work of protecting nature”, making finance more easily available, accessible and affordable while increasing debt limits. 

Kenya is likely to be among the next group of countries to seek international finance for a Just Energy Transition, after South Africa announced an $84 billion investment plan to transition from coal to clean energy, including $8.5 billion of funding from the EU and the United States. 

More than 90% of the East African country’s electricity mix is already green, coming primarily from geothermal power, solar, and wind energy. 

Earlier this month, the EU and the German Development Corporation agreed to provide a further €20 million to help finance Kenya’s plans for a 100% green electricity system by 2030. 

Speaking to EURACTIV, Achim Steiner, the administrator of the UN Development Programme, said that it was in the interests of the EU and wealthy countries to ramp up investment in African states in the coming years, adding that there is growing disappointment in the continent at the difficulty of obtaining investment. 

“In Africa, I would argue, it is in the interest of the developed world to be a co-investor to provide significant amounts of grant financing to enable Africa to make a transition to pivot forward into a 21st-century clean energy economy,” he said, adding “countries of the global south do not doubt climate change”. 

“In fact, they’re investing hundreds of billions of their own funding already in these energy transitions”

“But they feel to some extent disappointed and frustrated because the deals that they have committed to are simply not being honoured,” the UN official added, pointing to the failure of wealthy countries to keep their promise of providing $100 billion per year in climate change mitigation and adaption funding. 

Proposals to reform the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to dramatically increase access to and the volume of climate and clean energy investment are expected to dominate the agenda of the Bank and IMF spring meetings starting on 10 April. 

[Edited by Alexandra Brzozowski/Nathalie Weatherald]

Leave a Reply