UAE plans $4.5bn investment for Africa’s clean energy sector

During the Nairobi Climate Summit, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) unveiled a substantial commitment of $4.5 billion in clean energy investments aimed at bolstering Africa’s efforts to combat global warming. Sultan Al Jaber, the leader of Masdar, a government-owned renewable energy firm, and a prominent figure in the UAE’s national oil company ADNOC, made the announcement during the summit, which drew thousands of attendees, including heads of state, government officials, and industry leaders.

Al Jaber emphasised the significance of this investment, stating, “We will deploy $4.5 billion to kickstart a pipeline of bankable clean energy projects in this very important continent.” He further underscored the critical role Africa plays in the global fight against climate change, asserting, “If Africa loses, we all lose.” Al Jaber, who also serves as the UAE’s minister for industry and advanced technology, stressed that the investment aims to develop 15 gigawatts of clean power by 2030 and aims to catalyse an additional $12.5 billion from a combination of multilateral, public, and private sources.

As of 2022, Africa’s renewable generation capacity stood at 56 gigawatts, according to data from the International Renewable Energy Agency. The substantial investment from the UAE represents a significant boost to the continent’s clean energy ambitions.

The Africa Climate Summit, spanning three days, has drawn African leaders together to define a shared vision for sustainable development on a continent with a population of 1.4 billion people. A key focus of the summit is the reform of global financial structures that have disproportionately allocated climate solution investments away from Africa. Al Jaber called for a “surgical intervention” in the existing global financial architecture, which he argued was designed for a different era. He urged financial institutions to consider reducing debt burdens on African nations, acknowledging the mounting debt costs faced by many countries in the region.

Despite Africa’s abundance of natural resources, only a mere three percent of global energy investments are directed towards the continent. The Nairobi summit aims to rectify this disparity by advocating for a fairer distribution of investments that will empower Africa to play a more substantial role in the global transition to clean energy.

The UAE’s significant financial commitment serves as a testament to the importance of international collaboration and financial support in advancing the cause of environmental sustainability and climate action on the African continent. This announcement sets the stage for further discussions and initiatives at the upcoming COP28 summit in Dubai, which will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping the world’s energy future.

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