How ready are Africa’s venture capitalists to invest in climate tech?

The year 2020 signaled a reshift in the way investors and venture capitalists regarded startups developing technological solutions to climate change.

Prior to this time, between 2006 and 2011, the cleantech sector witnessed a flood of venture capital money in what has been described as the “green bubble”.

Sadly, investments didn’t bring expected turnovers. According to research by MIT Energy Initiative, VCs spent over $25bn funding cleantech and lost more than half of what they put in. This practically saw private financing in the sector dry up.

Fast forward to ten years later, investment potential into clean technology- now broadly termed climate tech- is definitely looking greener and brighter than ever.

Going by PitchBook data more than $40bn of venture capital funds have gone into climate tech companies from January 2020 to August 2021. A figure that exceeds the total for the previous two years by 37 percent.

What’s different about the climate tech landscape this time? A big clue points to the signing of the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015 as a catalyst driving global climate tech investment.

Other major factors responsible for the current wave of climate-related deals include the unprecedented rise in extreme weather and climate-related disasters, the global race to attain net-zero as well as emerging technologies that may prove effective in fighting climate change.

As such, finding solutions to the climate crisis is a huge economic opportunity not only for innovators but also for investors.

Climate tech includes solutions aimed at keeping global temperature below critical levels while reducing the earth’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in the process. It cuts across various sectors including energy, transport, real estate, and agriculture.

The industry encompasses startups focused on renewable energy, electric vehicles, forestry management, cellular and climate-smart agriculture among other areas.

A PwC climate tech investment report shows that mobility & transport, heavy industry, and GHG capture and storage are the rapidly growing segments, followed by food, agriculture, land use, built environment, energy, and climate and Earth data generation. This represents limitless economic opportunities for players in the space.

So far, the U.S still remains the country with the most mature climate tech ecosystem than anywhere else in the world, according to joint research by London & Partners and Dealroom while Europe emerges as the fastest-growing region for climate tech.

In terms of climate tech startup investment, London, Berlin, Labege (France), and Bengaluru, India were amongst the top ten cities for climate tech startup investment, attracting US$1.3 billion mainly across energy, agriculture, and food and land use. It is telling that no mention is made of Africa whatsoever.

It is no news that the tech industry is playing a fundamentally important role in the fight against climate change. And with Africa being the most vulnerable to climate change, players in the continent’s tech ecosystem cannot afford to fold their hands and wait for salvation from developed countries that do not want to take responsibility.

Why is Africa slow to catch up on climate tech?

There is little doubt that Africa is hampered by challenges in the areas of poor governance, lack of infrastructure, and too much reliance on importation, and finance; however, the continent is not short of innovators ready to address Africa’s peculiar climate crisis. Unfortunately, these do not get the needed attention from Africa investors.

Instead, the fintech sector appears to be the new oil as startups operating in the space are becoming a dime a dozen. Perhaps its lure is in the knowledge that fintech startups are venture capitalist darlings; in other words, the most-funded sector.

According to Partech’s 2020 report, fintech alone captured a quarter of funding leaving other sectors to share what is left. The few cleantech startups that get investments mostly owe their thanks to European investors and international organizations.

While fintech innovations should not be understated, after all, deepening financial inclusion and security are some of the biggest impacts the sector has brought in its wake; there are issues that even require more attention namely; climate change.

Taking their cue from their counterparts in Silicon Valley, African corporate investors and venture capitalists do not have to invest heavily in capital-intensive renewable energy projects with high upfront costs and wait for years to recoup their gains.

They can instead turn to smaller companies with niche products such as renewable energy solutions, battery storage technologies, electric vehicles, agriculture solutions that can drastically reduce agricultural land use to low-carbon concrete and sustainable aviation fuel.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that half the technologies we’ll need to achieve net-zero emissions have not yet been invented. The good news is that there are a handful of tools that can help tackle climate change.

African startups will need more runway- finance, commercial know-how, and industry knowledge- to create, deploy and scale innovations around sustainable energy, manufacturing, and agriculture practices.

At the end of the day, the involvement of Africa’s VC will be vital to the continued success of climate tech in the continent in terms of their climate adaptation commitments and investments into commercializing innovation- both of which will have positive impacts on the continent.

Top 4 technologies driving the energy revolution

Climate change is here and as the world continues to show concerns about its effects on the planet and seek ways to mitigate it, there have been talks about completely ditching fossil fuels and adopting renewable energy.

In addition to that, the world is consuming more energy than it was a few years ago and expectedly so.

The good news is that solar power and wind energy are replacing the conventional sources of creating energy and the switch to renewable energy sources will revamp our energy production, distribution, and consumption.

As the world makes this transition towards smart energy solutions, these four (4) technologies are leading the energy revolution:

Cloud Computing

The emergence of cloud computing in the data center industry is a force for sustainability in the energy sector.

Cloud computing facilitates on-demand network access, using a network of easily accessible and configurable computing resources that can be managed without requiring much physical hardware or supervision.

Beyond its benefits like cost reduction, easier management, expanded accessibility, higher efficiency, and enhanced processing capabilities, cloud computing has eco-friendly elements which makes it a major renewable energy driver.

In fact, expert analysis shows that the widespread adoption of cloud computing might result in a 38% reduction in worldwide data center energy outflows. How?

Cloud computing virtualizes resources which means a single physical server machine can concurrently operate a pool of operating system computers in different locations. This reduces energy consumption, results in fewer machines and less hardware.

Therefore, the amount of space required for the data center as well as the amount of e-waste generated will lessen. That way, the decreased energy use will help businesses reduce their carbon footprint, making the transition to a cleaner ecosystem seamlessly.

Blockchain

As the structure of energy supply systems is rapidly taking a decentralized form, people are generating and consuming their own electricity.

However, low capacity — which includes the increasing complications of control, the load on the network infrastructure, and the high requirements on data security — is resulting in the inability of these people to participate in electricity trading. This is where blockchain comes in.

Blockchain has high medium and long-term potentials to revolutionize the energy sector and lead the development of new, independently developed digital business models including peer-to-peer trading of decentralized renewable energy based on service.

This can be achieved if there are no regulatory constraints and it exists as a service model.

Internet of Things (IoT)

As energy consumption management becomes individualistic, it becomes necessary to seek sustainable energy choices and scalable solutions to optimize energy usage.

IoT can help with real-time predictive analytics and remote asset management which includes predictive maintenance and asset utilization, leading to reduced cost.

It can also be used to optimize the maintenance and performance of distributed grids and detect the variations in energy creation and consumption in order to achieve precision in their maintenance and management.

Smart grids that are powered with smart IoT-powered sensors can help in reducing the downtime and the impending costs that come along with it. IoT can also be used to detect hazards and prevent repercussions in such cases.

Finally, IoT-based smart meters can effectively provide detailed data and report on energy usage, detect what consumes the most power, and optimize their energy use.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

As energy systems rapidly change and become complex due to the phasing out of fossil fuels and the expansion of renewable energies.

With AI applications, however, these increasing complexities will be effectively controlled and optimized. The possible applications of artificial intelligence in the energy industry are manifold and often not only have a positive influence on the success of the energy revolution but also make sense from a business point of view.

Ultra-modern machine learning is assisting AI to improve efficiency, forecasting, and user accessibility. How?

Since electricity is a commodity, power brokers, sellers, and buyers in the energy market constantly analyze massive amounts of data — from weather forecasting to grid demand/supply balance — for the market to function efficiently. This gives people with the ability to effectively use these data a huge advantage over others.

Also, there are smart meters that provide data about a consumer’s energy consumption — monitoring and controlling devices, communicating with other household devices, saving money by reducing energy waste, controlling lighting, etc. — so that they can better manage their energy usage.

Conclusion

Having considered some emerging technologies championing the energy revolution, one thing becomes clear. It does the climate a whole lot of good and benefits nature in numerous ways when organizations adopt renewable energy and conserve scarce resources.

Taking a look at all these technologies, one can see that leaning towards renewable energy sources in enhancing their performance will lead to their reliability and resilience in the long run.

Boosting Africa’s development with renewable energy

Erratic power supply coupled with power shortages continues to stall Africa’s development — the persistent power outages causing businesses to shut down and leading to millions in losses.

African countries are endowed with substantial sources of renewable energy — hydro, wind, geothermal, biomass, etc., but wind and solar energy are always dependent on the weather. That is why a greater part of these countries rely heavily on hydropower fueled mainly by dams.

However, water levels have been low due to drought as a result of climate change, affecting power supply from the dam and causing heavy economic losses.

Meanwhile, the continent’s energy demand is estimated to grow even though over half of its population already does not have access to energy. And energy is key to development.

How can Africa advance its infrastructure development and invest in science, technology, and innovation when there is no stable, reliable, and efficient energy?

Africa’s energy sector is dominated by the government and it has led the sector to perpetually suffer from factors such as high distribution losses, lack of revenue due to unpaid bills, and poor tariff structure — leaving utility companies without funds to invest in transforming the energy sector.

Since Africa has an abundance of renewable energy sources, it is in a position to adopt innovative and sustainable technologies and play a leading role in shaping the continent’s sustainable energy future.

An indication of the potential that renewable energy has in Africa is evidenced in the unchangeability of the fundamentals of renewable energy expansion despite the COVID-19 pandemic – the growth is expected to surge and constitute almost half of Africa’s power generation growth by 2040.

As countries seek to transition from coal, crude oil, and natural gas to cleaner power sources, the question then is whether or not Africa’s development can be underpinned by renewable energy alone.

Africa can develop without exploiting its fossil fuel resources because renewable energy has the potential to close the energy gap in Africa. But for that to be possible, better market conditions are very essential.

Conditions like a more conducive environment for renewable energy development which requires political will, policies to attract investments, as well as the necessary investments from the private sector to develop renewable energy will serve as catalysts for the growth of the sector.

From a cost perspective, access to affordable and clean energy from small and decentralized renewable power generation trumps large fossil-fueled power stations as it becomes a viable opportunity for remote energy users.

For renewable energy to thrive in Africa, governments need to focus on developing financial solutions to make renewable energy affordable, both for end-users and supporting industries.

Fintech’s role in driving clean energy adoption in Africa

Over the past couple of years, Africa has become highly invested in reducing carbon footprints as well as mitigating risks associated with climate change. This has led to the adoption of clean energy.

Since a good number of people in Africa still live without electricity and therefore have to resort to using candles, oil lamps, generator sets, or burning woods, the rapid deployment of solar home systems and mini-grids has improved the health, quality of life, and economic growth of Africans. This has been largely facilitated by companies with clean energy solutions.

However, these clean energy solutions providers have to efficiently collect payments from consumers – some of who are either low-income earners or live in rural areas. This is where fintech companies come in.

Fintech companies help them achieve this efficiency by giving them the infrastructure and developing clean energy power models thereby making energy easily accessible and affordable for rural communities while enabling financial inclusion.

Just like agent banking which has extended financial services to rural areas, thanks to portable point-of-sale (POS) machines that perform many banking functions, fintech energy providers are leveraging on the success of the model and have started adapting agent networks to help providers of solar home systems reach more customers.

They facilitate the provision of off-grid solar and mini-grid solutions to Africans especially those in rural areas who do not have access to clean energy. This has greatly driven the adoption of renewable energy via the facilitation of energy solutions across the continent.

With the help of technologies such as blockchain, advanced data analytics, or artificial intelligence, fintech is also helping these companies to evaluate and reduce their environmental impact as well as helping investors to channel their operations towards more sustainable assets.

Some fintech solutions firms also drive energy access via decentralized finance (DeFi) crowdfunding platform which enables investors to provide microloans that support the deployment of clean energy.

In addition, there are also cryptocurrency platforms created to reward solar energy producers and serve as incentives to those considering installing solar panels. This means solar energy producers get crypto rewards when they show the meter readings of their energy production.

The promotion of low-cost solar energy use in rural areas by fintech through their infrastructure is not only enabling financial inclusion but also creating a world of inclusion in the clean energy sector for these communities.

Female-owned startup, Salpha Energy, secures $1m to scale its solar home systems distribution

Going by the World Bank assessment, around 85 million Nigerians do not have access to grid electricity. With this figure representing 43% percent of the country’s population, Nigeria ranks among countries with the largest energy access deficit in the world.

The lack of reliable power is a significant constraint for citizens and businesses, resulting in annual economic losses. In response to this, innovative startups are upping their games to provide solutions to Nigeria’s energy poverty. One of such companies is Salpha Energy.

The Nigerian-based renewable energy startup, Salpha Energy, has raised $1 million dollars investment from All On, a Shell-funded impact investment company.

This new investment will be deployed to scale the company’s solar home systems distribution business, with a focus on bottom-of-the-pyramid customers in rural and peri-urban areas across Nigeria, including the Niger Delta.

Salpha Energy is a provider of clean, affordable solar home energy systems with a commitment to reaching end-users in underserved communities.

Having launched a wide range of affordable solar products, the female-led company is guided by its vision of a cleaner and more sustainable future for everyone powered by solar energy through innovative and quality-conscious products that are built to last.

Salpha Energy has an active distributor network of over 350 individuals, cooperatives, and traders nationwide with key partnerships with payment collection enablers such as Paga, InfiBranches, and Interswitch.

In 2020, Salpha Energy received a $50,000 prize as one of the winners of the USADF/All On Off-Grid Energy Challenge. This was used to pilot Pay-As-You-Go contracts for customers in the Niger Delta.

According to the energy company, the recent funding will be used to develop Salpha’s inventory and product range, expand sales channels and customer service infrastructure, and test more flexible pricing models to sustainably manage rural and low-income customers across Nigeria.

Expressing his delight over the fundraising, Sandra Chukwudozie, Founder and CEO of Salpha Energy, said, “We are very excited about this support from All On which is an indication of their growing confidence in our vision. This additional support will allow us to deliver on our strategy to provide products for customers across the range of their developing energy needs.”

“We are thrilled about this investment which is the continuation of a journey and would provide Salpha inventory needed to supply its expanding network of distributors and a platform to cement its competitive advantage and respond to growing market demand for Solar Home Systems,” said All On Senior Investment Associate, Goziem Okubor.

“It’s also an opportunity to support young indigenous female entrepreneurs in building an exciting and fast-growing solar business,” Goziem added.


Featured Image: Sandra Chukwudozie, Founder and CEO of Salpha Energy

6 solar-powered devices that you must have

As more people lean towards renewable energy as proof of an eco-friendly lifestyle, many have shown a preference for solar-powered devices.

What’s more, these devices have not only improved the quality of life, but they have proven to be a great way for people to reduce electricity consumption which is oftentimes more expensive.

Below are six (6) solar-powered devices we think you must have to make your life easier and wholesome.

Portable Solar Generator

solar generator

Generators are not left out of the solar revolution. Solar-powered generators are a must-have because they are eco-friendly compared to regular generator sets that pollute the environment.

They harness solar power around your home to power your laptop, fan, lamp, phone, and other small appliances. The great part is that they come with different ports that can be adapted to different equipment.

Solar Outdoor Security Camera

solar camera

Security is very crucial. That is why we recommend solar outdoor security cameras because they detect motion at any time, be it day or night. At night, their built-in LED lights help illuminate your home so you can see what’s happening outside.

You receive notifications on your smartphone through an app, and the video that is recorded is stored on a memory card and saved in the cloud.

Solar Flashlight

solar flashlightIf you’ve ever needed to look for something in the dark, you’d know how frustrating it could be. That’s why flashlights are another essential tool for you.

With solar flashlights, you don’t need to worry about flat batteries because they get power from the sun through a built-in solar panel. When fully charged, they can last for up to 2 days depending on the brand.

Solar Power Bank

solar powerbank

 

Our smartphones are literally our twin. We take them almost anywhere and we use them for virtually anything – calls, research, staying updated, transactions, etc. What then happens when you cannot perform all of those activities because your phone’s battery is flat?

This is why we recommend solar power banks. They allow you to charge your phones when they run down and you don’t have to worry about accessing electricity to charge the power bank because you can charge it with the sun.

It’s a win-win situation. Also, they can charge your laptops and the good part is that they’re portable so you can fit them anywhere.

Solar Bluetooth Speaker

solar bluetooth speaker

It’s time to get your groove on with solar bluetooth speakers. Solar bluetooth speakers are eco-friendly because they receive direct energy from the sun and you don’t have to worry about charging. So, even when there’s a power outage, the show isn’t interrupted.

Solar Fan

solar fan

Sunny days are good and all but they can be quite uncomfortable especially when you get all sweaty. Solar fans come in handy on such days when it’s extremely hot and there isn’t enough ventilation in your home.

Because they are portable, they can be placed anywhere in your home and they come with solar panels that can generate energy from the sun.

On a final note, you don’t need to worry about electricity anymore. All you really need are these solar-powered devices and let the sun do the rest.

Making a case for off-grid solar: The Nigeria scenario

Nigeria is home to Africa’s largest population and has the largest economy in the continent in terms of nominal GDP.

Along with its population strength and economic power comes its abundance in both traditional and renewable energy resources, especially solar.

To put this into context, Nigeria has an average of 2672 hours of sunlight yearly with an average of 7:18 hours of sunlight per day.

However, considering the country’s economic strength and favorable environmental conditions, one would think it would be a major player in renewable power sources such as solar but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Nigeria’s population comprises about 190 million people, with only about 45% of them having access to grid-connected electricity, and even those with access to centralized power are often affected by power cuts and outages from the national grid.

This has led the population to generate their own electricity with petrol and diesel generators – which are mostly uneconomical and environmentally unfriendly – to solve the problem.

Significant progress has been made in the past 5 years to address the energy deficiency that Nigeria faces, with distributed solar playing a leading role in allowing millions of households have access to clean and sustainable energy. This is largely due to Nigeria’s potential for off-grid solar systems.

However, according to statistics from the International Renewable Energy Agency, Nigeria had only installed 28 MW of solar as of 2019 end, despite its huge potential.

The issues

According to the World Bank, off-grid solar electrification is usually considered when providing electricity access to rural communities which are mostly far from the existing grid and often have dispersed settlement patterns.

With the privatization of electricity utility in Nigeria, providing electricity for these rural communities is seen as not being cost-beneficial to the private companies because they are mostly driven by profit maximization.

This makes a case for providing electricity access in some of these rural communities using off-grid solar photovoltaic systems (PV) because it is the most economically viable and provides similar benefits in terms of use.

While off-grid solar has the potential to address Nigeria’s energy access deficit, enhance its overall economic development, and help rural communities to improve electricity supply, market failures impede its growth.

For example, the rural poor, who are most in need of access, are deprived of being served in commercial terms because they can’t afford electricity offered at market prices.

Another issue is the barrier to finance in the off-grid solar market. Many local financial institutions (FIs) are reluctant to invest in the off-grid solar market and this has been a major impediment.

The future

Off-grid solar (OGS) companies have a lot to do when it comes to the scale and viability of solutions. The good part is that technological advancements in mobile payments and consumer financing models have changed the way off-grid energy products can be offered.

Nigeria will unlock an enormous market opportunity through off-grid solar as companies continue to lead innovative ways to reach underserved communities.

As more Nigerians see solar as desirable and reliable, the cost of sales will substantially reduce. The Nigerian solar market has great potentials. Creating awareness, delivering generator-replacement technology at low cost, financing, etc., may just be the nudge that people need to hop on the train.

Solar power joins in the fight against polio in Nigeria

The world is adopting clean energy at an unprecedented pace, and solar power is the energy source that has seen a significant uptake across the globe.

Recognizing the role of energy in delivering quality healthcare services, the World Health Organization (WHO) has delivered solar panels to a health facility in Borno State, Nigeria to ensure an uninterrupted power supply for essential health services providers.

The solar panels- 48 of them with 330 watts each, 21KVA inverters, and 24 tabular batteries- were commissioned at the Polio Laboratory by Dr. Walter Kazadi Mulombo, the WHO country representative.

It is intended to give the facility an uninterrupted power supply for the quick testing of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) samples that are collected from the field.

This intervention is a response to the insurgency attack on infrastructure in the state in January 2021 which is affecting operations at the accredited Polio Laboratory at the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

The solar panels delivered to power the facility is in response to the increasing impact of climate change on people’s health and reinforce the commitment to develop climate-resilient and low-carbon health systems as emphasized at the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26).

The installation of solar panels, according to Mulombo, is part of the best practices aimed at improving health services to avoid disruption in laboratory activities.

He added, “WHO will provide additional support to ensure the capacity of the polio laboratory in strengthening the fight against poliovirus in Nigeria. Also, WHO will continue to support the state technically and ensure essential health services are adequately provided.”

Speaking on the intervention, Professor Ibrahim Kidda, Head of Immunology Department, University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital, said, “WHO’s intervention in the state and the Polio laboratory specifically, cannot be overemphasized.

However, the predicament we found ourselves [in] during the ten months of power outage had a negative impact on effectively carrying out our mandate.

I believe this project would play an enormous role in ensuring continuity of the laboratory activities and save Nigeria and Africa the embarrassment it might cause to Global Polio Eradication Efforts.”

To maintain the win against wild poliovirus, Nigeria needs to continue the AFP surveillance and sample collection. There is also a need to continue testing to support the battle against the Vaccine Derived Polio Virus 2 (cVDPV2) that is circulating and is already reported in some states.

Addressing the dearth of women in Africa’s cleantech sector

Women in the African clean technology (cleantech) sector have been playing important roles in the continent’s transition to renewable energy especially in terms of production, consumption, and conversion.

Despite their immense contribution in driving renewable energy adoption in Africa and sustaining the green economy, they are still under-represented in the space. This leads us to a very crucial question: why are there few women in the clean technology sector?

The first reason why there is a dearth of women in Africa’s energy industry is the financial gap that exists in the sector.

One of the major conditions for cleantech enterprises to begin and scale products and services is their access to quick funds at reasonable rates. But this is not the case especially for women cleantech entrepreneurs in underdeveloped and developing African countries because a good number of them do not have financing access.

This is further worsened by the prevalent gender discrimination when it comes to property acquisition and laws. Most of these women do not have properties in their name. It then becomes difficult for them to offer the properties as collateral to access loans from banks to kickstart their ventures.

That, coupled with their almost non-existent credit histories is a recipe for discouragement in the space.

The second reason why there is a dearth of women in the cleantech sector is limited access to networks and market opportunities. It is common knowledge that mentorship has a direct effect on women’s career choices.

Women mentors play significant roles in the cleantech space as they help aspiring cleantech entrepreneurs find their footing, provide access to knowledge, social capital, and business opportunities – which are key elements for these women to thrive.

However, the cleantech sector is dominated by men which means that women entrepreneurs have less motivation to want to stick in the space.

The third reason is gender discrimination. This has been a problem that several sectors and industries face; thus, the clean technology space is no exception.

Gender discrimination has deprived many women cleantech entrepreneurs of funding. To put this into context, not only does a small fraction of seed funding capital go to startups that have women founders in their team, but only a few venture capital firms invest in women-led startups.

This is especially disheartening because the space is mostly male-dominated and most of the male investors would rather invest in companies that have male founders.

Finally, you are more likely to see women-led cleantech companies in the incubator stages than you would in the acceleration stages. This is because investors are more focused on the former due to less funding requirements.

Many women would likely drop because, as the companies scale, so will the gender financing gap in its equity capital increase.

What’s the way forward?

The focus should be on women’s inclusion in every cleantech-related program. Also, there should be deliberate sensitization on the gender disparities that are prevalent in the sector.

Furthermore, women-focused mentorship programs and opportunities should be encouraged so as to enable women cleantech entrepreneurs to take advantage of the many opportunities that abound in the space.

Finally, governments should create a space for these women cleantech entrepreneurs to thrive. This can be done via subsidies, tax exemptions, investment programs, and the abolishment of gender discriminatory laws.

Rwanda to involve more women in renewable energy for 100% electrification

Women are charting a path for themselves in the renewable energy industry. More and more women engineers in the sector are creating innovative products; showing that the clean, renewable energy market has grown beyond gender.

In light of this, Rwanda’s Minister of Infrastructure, Claver Gatete, stated that increasing women’s participation in the renewable energy market will help Rwanda achieve its energy transformation and 100% electrification goals.

The Minister made the remarks during an online press conference hosted by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), which announced the release of a new report on renewable energy employment trends for 2020.

As a center of excellence for information and innovation, a global voice for renewables, a network hub, and a source of guidance and support for countries, IRENA plays a key role in the energy transformation.

The Director-General of IRENA, Francesco La Camera commented on the findings of Renewable Energy and Jobs in an annual review of the 2021 report. In his words: “Women accounted for one-third of all jobs, better than the conventional sector but it is not enough. For the energy transition to be an available one, it needs to be just and inclusive.”

Rwanda aims to attain 100 percent energy availability by 2031, according to the minister, and enhancing women’s involvement and role is critical to accomplishing this goal.

Gatete said, “It’s a significant challenge. Right now, we’re at 66 percent electrification, and it’s been a long trip from 1% in 1994.”

He believes that the absence of qualified female applicants for professions such as engineers has hampered women’s engagement in the energy sector.

In addition, Gatete stated that there were few women in science and technology. However, the country is seeing an increase in female participation in the electrical engineering field, as well as enrolment.

“The government has launched an initiative to ensure that women are well situated, with mechanisms including a written program and additional funding being devoted toward the roadmap’s implementation.”

While acknowledging the importance of public-private partnerships in boosting access to power in recent decades, he stated that the same technique must be utilized in order to achieve the goal of renewables accounting for 60% of total electricity in the energy mix by 2030.

According to Gatete, Rwanda now gets 90 percent of its electricity from private-sector-developed plants. The private sector owns 100% of the off-grid and solar mini-grids installed in Rwanda.

Nevertheless, the minister stated that the private sector and individual businesses in Rwanda must “consider gender mainstreaming” in order to promote a fair and inclusive energy transformation.

The minister also spoke on the need for regional alliances in maintaining energy security and emission reductions.

Renewable energy, he added, is becoming increasingly vital to the country. The expansion of Rwanda’s generation portfolio, as well as transmission and distribution, is creating a lot of jobs, which is helping the country’s economy to recover.

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