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Surge in renewable energy investment in East Africa

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Renewable electricity made up 65% of the East African region’s total installed, grid connected power generating capacity in 2015, a new report has revealed.

This is significantly higher than other parts of sub-Saharan Africa where currently it stands at 28.6% and 23.5% in the ECOWAS and SADC regions respectively.

Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21), in cooperation with UNIDO, has published a first East African Community (EAC) Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Status Report, that reveals that the off-grid market is firmly established in the region and is helping to meet energy access needs.

According to Dr Pradeep Monga, Director of Energy, UNIDO, the report presents the region as one ripe for a dramatic increase in renewable energy and energy efficiency activities, which will in turn attract much-needed investment.

“The report provides a comprehensive overview of the status of renewable energy and energy efficiency policies and markets by drawing on information from national and regional sources and networks, which is critical to unlocking the region’s potential and investment opportunities,” said Pradeep Monga.

The report was released Thursday at the ongoing 3rd International Off-grid Renewable Energy Conference in Nairobi. It covers  Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda,  Tanzania and Uganda – the East African Community (EAC)  – which is the second largest single regional market in Africa and economically one of the fastest growing regions in sub-Saharan Africa.

The REN21 report states that in 2015 the region saw $139.8 million of capital raised by off-grid solar companies, representing approximately 50% of all off-grid investment made worldwide ($276 million).

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The region’s spectacular market growth was driven mainly by a rapid decline in global prices for PV equipment in addition favourable government policies and innovative business models.

“The mini/micro-grid sector also attracted significant investment. The cooking sector was boosted
with a $4 million investment to establish a cook-stove manufacturing facility in Kenya with an
additional $800,000 to expand activities elsewhere in the region,” the report stated.

REN21 is a global renewable energy policy multi-stakeholder network that connects a wide range of key actors. The non-profit association is based at the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in Paris, France.

REN21 brings together governments, nongovernmental organisations, research and academic institutions, international organisations and industry to learn from one another and build on successes that advance renewable energy.

SEE MORE GRAPHS & FULL REPORT on page 2

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