UAE to provide clean energy to 100 million Africans by 2035

COP28 President-Designate Dr Sultan Al Jaber and Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50, sign an MoU during the Africa Climate Summit. [Courtesy]

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) leadership has announced its ambitious goal to provide clean energy projects to benefit electricity to 100 million people across Africa by 2035.

This commitment, backed by a substantial UDS4.5 billion investment, comes in response to the pressing issue of 600 million people lacking access to clean energy within the continent.

For instance, Masdar, a global leader in clean energy and the largest such company in Africa, has pledged USD2 billion in equity to bolster the UAE's finance initiative.

Announced during the Africa Climate Summit by HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Chairman of Masdar and COP28 President-Designate, this initiative is a collaborative effort involving public, private, and development capital from UAE institutions, including the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), Masdar, and AMEA Power.

Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform, is expected to join as a strategic partner in this venture.

The partnership aims to identify, fast-track, and scale clean energy projects across Africa. Masdar, with its technical expertise and experience in emerging markets, will work alongside Africa50, which specialises in developing projects in Africa, to unlock the vast clean energy potential on the continent.

In alignment with the initiative and ahead of COP28, Masdar has committed to unlocking 10 gigawatts (GW) of clean energy projects in Africa by 2030.

This ambitious investment plan includes USD2 billion in equity and an additional USD8 billion in project finance, totaling USD10 billion. These funds will be directed toward delivering 10GW of clean energy capacity in Africa, benefiting millions of people across the continent.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber emphasized the importance of this partnership, stating, "The world must continue to close the gap on climate finance for clean energy investment in the global south, which is disproportionately affected by climate change. We need the public and private sectors to work together to deliver clean energy access across Africa."

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, expressed pride in Masdar's long-term partnerships and projects in Africa, highlighting initiatives such as Senegal's first utility-scale wind farm, Mauritania's largest solar photovoltaic project, and Africa's largest wind farm in Egypt. He added, "With Africa50, Masdar looks forward to unlocking the enormous clean energy potential across the continent."

Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50, stressed the significance of partnerships in scaling up sustainable infrastructure development in Africa.

 He stated, "This step will become one of many on a journey to drive transformative projects that support Africa's path to net-zero and help build cleaner economies for future generations."

The UAE finance initiative falls under the umbrella of Etihad 7, a development platform launched by the UAE with the aim of providing clean electricity to 100 million people across Africa by 2035.

 This initiative reinforces the UAE's commitment to addressing climate change and fostering sustainable development.

Masdar, established in 2006, is a powerhouse in clean energy, operating in over 40 countries and investing in renewable energy projects with a combined capacity of around 20GW.

The company is poised to expand its portfolio to at least 100GW by 2030, with a focus on green hydrogen production.

Africa50, on the other hand, is an infrastructure investment platform dedicated to advancing Africa's growth by developing and investing in bankable projects, mobilizing public and private sector funding, and delivering both financial returns and positive impact.

With 34 shareholders, including African countries and financial institutions, Africa50 plays a vital role in catalysing sustainable infrastructure across the continent.