better opportunities for Africa to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

better opportunities for Africa to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals

“Renewable energy sources give us the opportunity to achieve the goals of sustainable development. We also need to be major players in energy,” said Jean-David Cooper, director of policy and research at Sierra Leone’s Ministry of Mines and Mineral Resources. Mr. Cooper spoke on a panel on “Financial Modeling for Just Energy Transition for Certain Critical Minerals in Transition Countries”. This intervention took place within the framework of a workshop, organized by the African Development Bank, on the topic “Financial Modeling for the Extractive Sector (FIMES)”. This workshop was organized on August 23 and 24, 2023 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.

Participants note that Africa has made significant progress in the energy transition despite challenges. Underscoring the magnitude of the goals yet to be achieved, Silas Olang, Energy Transition Adviser for Africa at the Institute of Natural Resources Management in Accra, Ghana, lamented that there are no African countries in the top 30 in the world for energy transitions. However, countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa are implementing bold policies to develop renewable energy sources.

All the resources of the energy transition are present on the continent

Renewable energy sources can provide electricity to the 600 million Africans who are currently without it, create jobs and stimulate industrialization. “Every dollar invested in renewable energy will generate an additional $0.93,” and the use of renewable energy will gradually lead to lower costs, unlike fossil fuels, assures Mr. Cooper.

Among the assets that Africa has in this area are, in addition to solar energy, wind energy, biomass, hydroelectric energy, and minerals such as lithium, graphite or cobalt, which can be used in renewable energy — the production of solar panels, batteries for electric vehicles, etc.

In the exchanges, the need for the continent to make better use of its vast mineral resources for its sustainable development emerged.

Mineral refining in Africa, not China or the West

Niger’s uranium is exploited by France, its oil by China, emphasizes Dogari Basirou, Director General of Economics at the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Niger. This creates huge financial losses for African governments, which often have to make do with statements from foreign mining companies about mineral content.

“Minerals are not processed in Africa, but in European countries and China. 80% of African cobalt is refined in China. If we could refine minerals in Africa, we could sell them at a higher rate because exporting raw materials limits our financial gain. We are losing a lot in the current system,” Cooper said.

How much trust should be placed in the statements of foreign mining companies?

“We say, for example, that the content is 45%, how do we check and determine that? We need to help countries to better control the processes of determining costs and determining impurities in minerals,” urged Boubacar Lounceny Camara, representing Guinea, before adding: “The price of raw gold is determined by refined gold. However, it is the companies that give us the amount of refined gold. This leads to huge losses. The metals taken out of our countries also contain other mineral resources,” lamented Mr. Camara calling on the African Development Bank to help African countries have facilities to process the ore before export.

However, Mr. Camara pointed out that Guinea managed to define a reference price for bauxite with the support of its international partners and that it is ready to share its experience with other African countries.

Mobilize more tax revenue

In order to encourage the development of renewable energy sources, each African country must have a clear vision and develop laws different from those applied to fossil fuels. Regarding the financing of the sector, governments must create a stable political environment, adopt attractive laws for the private sector, establish a transparent budget system and fight corruption. The private sector, with its financial power and expertise, can play a key role, as can international financial institutions. This should help countries establish regional projects and serve as a catalyst in mobilizing additional investment.

Yannick Bouterige, research assistant at the Foundation for Development Studies and Research (FERDI) explained how the African Development Bank, through its project on financial modeling of the extractive sector, helps African countries to mobilize more tax revenues, to strengthen their institutional capacities and their resilience. Guinea, Mali, Liberia, Madagascar, Niger, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Zimbabwe are beneficiaries of this program, which was launched in 2020, for two years.

Regarding renewable energy financing, the Bank also has several financial instruments, investment projects and departments dedicated to the sector that benefit all African countries.

“The Bank’s new climate action window, with around $429 million, could provide a great opportunity to finance low-carbon projects from renewable natural resources in Africa,” said Innocent Onah, Chief Natural Resources Officer at the African Center for Natural Resource Management and Investments. (ECNR) at the African Development Bank.

Hi, I’m laayouni2023