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The African renewable energy sector has been predicted to be worth US$57bn by 2020 thanks to the growing demand for power across the continent, according to a UN official
Said Adejumobi, the director of governance and public administration division of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), told a business forum of investors in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, that the sector has recorded “a staggering 1,583 per cent increase between 2004 and 2011”.
Adejumobi indicated that the enormous growth had resulted in the sector reaching a value of US$3.6bn in 2011, up from US$750mn in 2004, thanks to the large unmet demand, combined with abundant available sources of renewable energy across Africa.
The UN official argued that the demand for energy would continue to rise in the future due to a combination of factors, including Africa’s economic progress in the last 15 years, which has averaged a five per cent GDP growth rate, the demographic structure in which more than 60 per cent of the continent’s population was made up of young people and the increasing rate of urbanisation in Africa.
The key growth areas in the sector, he said, included wind, solar and geothermal power and emphasised the need for foreign direct investment into the continent’s energy and power infrastructure.
“Investment in renewable energy is a major priority for Africa,” he remarked.
The forum, according to Sam Cho, who heads the ECA’s private sector section, brought together investors, banks, government investment agencies and those in the energy sector to discuss interests, concrete investments and other areas of collaboration.
Among those present at the forum were emerging market investors from China, India, Korea and Brazil, financing departments from the World Bank, the AfDB, DBSA, AFC and Ecobank.