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Africa to lead global renewable energy, green transitions - AfDB President

The continent has abundant solar potential and is a catalyst for driving green energy initiatives on a global scale.

Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, AfDB President (Bloomberg)

Adesina said this at a media conference in Nairobi, on the sidelines of the ongoing AfDB Annual Meetings 2024.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the event marks the 59th Annual Assembly of the AfDB, the 50th meeting of the African Development Fund (ADF) and 60 years of AfDB’s existence.

While articulating Africa’s inherent advantage in renewable energy, Adesina said the continent had abundant solar potential and a catalyst for driving green energy initiatives on a global scale.

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“Globally, we have been talking about global energy transitions. "Everybody worries about continued CO2 emissions and the need to contain that through energy transitions and moving into more renewable energy.

“Africa will drive the global agenda on renewable and green energy transitions for two reasons. We have great sunshine, which has about 11 terawatts of solar potential.

“That is the highest solar potential you have anywhere in the world. And the level of solar radiation in Africa is the highest anywhere you will find in the world.

“So, therefore, as the world now transitions into renewable energy, Africa will be front and centre in terms of harnessing the power of renewable energy to drive our world,” he said.

According to Adesina, there is a lot of interest in green hydrogen, green ammonia, fertilisers, jet fuels, and other things that require renewable energy, such as solar energy. He said that Africa’s rich reservoir of natural resources, including platinum, copper, and lithium, positioned the continent as a key player in the burgeoning Electric Vehicle (EV) market.

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He emphasised the importance for Africa to harness these resources strategically for its transformation and to assert its prominence in global value chains.

“And so Africa today has 90% of all the platinum in the world. It has well over 60-70% of all the copper you have worldwide.

“50% of all the other metals, whether nickel or lithium. Africa has a massive amount of these natural metals that will determine the future of electric vehicles in the world.

“And so how Africa harnesses that for its transformation will be critical, but also critical for how Africa positions itself globally in those value chains.

“So there are potential, opportunities, and positioning issues for Africa within the context of your global electric vehicles and battery energy storage systems."

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On Agriculture, Adesina said it emerged as a linchpin in Africa’s transformation narrative. According to him, with most of the world’s uncultivated arable land lying within its borders, Africa holds the key to global food security.

He, however, underscored the imperative for Africa to leverage its agricultural potential to meet the needs of a burgeoning global population. Adesina said that the continent was poised to chart its course on the global stage and should ensure to shape the future of generations to come.

“So, what Africa does with agriculture will determine the future of food in the world. Africa’s transformation will have to happen not with what Africa does not have.

“It has to happen with what Africa has and how it harnesses those things, which will drive this fast-paced transformation."

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