Africa’s Renewable Energy Voices: What the world needs to hear at COP27
Wednesday 14 September 2022
Time: 14:00 – 16:30 Central Africa Time (14:00 – 16:30 CEST Paris)
REN21 is convening this special RENdez-vous to discuss how to better position and amplify the African renewable energy voice at COP27. This year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 27), hosted by Egypt, is billed as “The African COP”. With COP27 less than two months down the road, REN21 has accelerated its work with the African energy stakeholders to make sure that their voices are heard and considered in the upcoming climate negotiations. Although there is a broad consensus on the reality of climate change and the recognition that Africa bears the brunt of this phenomenon, climate is only one of the continent’s many pressing priorities.
Moving away from fossil fuels to an efficient and renewables-based energy system and economy is necessary to meet development and climate objectives. But renewable energy does so much more than provide the necessary energy services; it is an enabler and an opportunity for accelerating change. Renewables can help Africa meet its broader energy access needs, fueling economic and industrial development, supporting the pathways needed to achieve this and helping countries on their long-term journey to net-zero. Together we will look at how we can amplify the voices of renewables at COP27 and demonstrate that renewables can meet many climate objectives and support a just energy transition.
During this RENdez-vous Africa we answered the following questions:
- How can we strengthen the African renewable energy voice in the climate discourse?
- What are the underlying power dynamics that need to be addressed?
- Who are key influencers to target?
Did you miss the discussion or want a quick recap?
Omar Elmawi, Coordinator, Stop EACOP (East African Crude Oil Pipeline)
Thomas Opande, Lead Africa Energy Access Initiative WWF
Elizabeth Chege, Energy Efficiency & Cooling Specialist: SEforALL & Chair of Africa Regional Network of WorldGBC
RENdez-vous Africa: Dialogue Series | Strategic discussions around renewables in Africa
Competing priorities—economic recovery, stabilising health crisis—exacerbated by COVID-19 are reducing the space for a public discourse for the uptake of renewables and the broader energy transition.
This clearly threatens the momentum renewables have generated over the last decade, and even risks reversing some of the hard-fought gains. The weak links in the sector, i.e. scattered voices, disconnected priorities, limited scale and resources need to be strengthened, particularly in critical hot-spots and in vulnerable countries. We need to work together more strategically, to bring renewables to the centre of attention and planning to drive economic growth, social equity, and innovation.
Doing this requires integrating renewables across all sectors and creating societal support. It is also about building and bringing the community together more strategically, to increase its collective influence in the global energy debate, linking global and local voices.
Making renewable energy mainstream also requires forging bridges outside of the renewable energy bubble well beyond the “usual suspects”. We need to identify, build on and collaborate with players to collectively widen and amplify the renewable energy voice. This means broadening the renewable energy community regionally and into new sectors. It also involves bringing the right information to this community so it can be more effective, strategic and influential.
The strategies and narratives to make renewable energy mainstream differ regionally. We need to understand the underlying drivers and drags to renewables uptake in each region and develop strategies to address or enhance them. In Africa, strategies to move to renewable energy need to be situated in the context of green recovery, energy growth and sustainable development. This is critical to create societal support for renewables, support economic development and innovation and develop a renewable narrative beyond the climate topic.
What is a RENdez-vous?
REN21 hosts these events to inspire and to offer opportunities to learn and share across sectors. While each event is unique, one thing remains consistent: at every RENdez-vous there is time to meet and network with people from the greater renewables community, inclusive of many different sectors. Learn more and join the next event…