Crucially, the economics – and also the politics – of building renewable energy projects in Africa are changing. Japan is helping Kenya lead the way in geothermal, while innovative payment plans in Nigeria and huge state backing in Morocco are accelerating solar generation.
Renewable energy has gone from fringe obsession to sought-after asset class, from socks and sandals to suit and tie. At the COP21 climate summit in Paris in December 2015, global leaders pledged a minimum $100bn in clean energy finance for developing countries by 2020.
Africa has an opportunity to lead the world and leap to a totally renewable energy base
African countries now face the challenge of creating projects that qualify for funds. As Zimbabwean telecoms tycoon Strive Masiyiwa told the conference: “Africa has an opportunity to lead the world and leap to a totally renewable energy base, in the same way as the continent has leapfrogged from fixed-line telephony straight to mobile communications.”