Masdar works with African countries on renewable projects

Agreements with Angola, Uganda and Zambia will see development of renewable energy projects with a combined capacity of up to 5GW

Masdar, the global clean energy powerhouse, has signed agreements with three African nations to develop renewable energy projects with a combined capacity of up to 5 gigawatts (GW), and help them with their clean energy transition, it has announced.

In a statement, Masdar said that the agreements were signed under the umbrella of the Etihad 7 initiative, a UAE-led initiative that aims to raise public- and private-sector funds to invest in the development of Africa’s renewable energy sector.

The initiative was launched at ADSW 2022 by Sheikh Shakhboot Nahyan Al Nahyan, Minister of State in the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MoFAIC), with the aim of achieving 20GW capacity to supply 100 million people across the continent with clean electricity by 2035.

Sheikh Shakhboot Nahyan Al Nahyan said: “The UAE and African nations share a firm belief in the tremendous potential that clean energy offers Africa to unlock economic and climate action progress. That is why the UAE launched Etihad 7 last year at ADSW, a program dedicated to accelerating universal access to clean energy across Africa by supplying clean energy to 100 million people by 2035. 

“The signings made this week at ADSW 2023 demonstrate the great traction that we have gained and the milestones that we have achieved together over the past year.”

The agreements signed under the Etihad 7 umbrella at ADSW 2023 are: 

  • An agreement with Angola’s Ministry of Energy and Water for the development of renewable energy projects with a total capacity of 2GW.  
  • An agreement with Uganda’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Development for the development of greenfield renewable projects with a total installed capacity of 1GW.
  • An agreement with Zambia’s Ministry of Energy, and Zambian national utility ZESCO Limited for the joint development of develop solar, wind, and hydroelectricity projects with a total capacity of 2GW.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, COP28 President Designate, and Chairman of Masdar, added: “The UAE is committed to advancing sustainable development in the Global South – and especially in our brotherly nations in Africa. These landmark agreements, which aim to deliver up to 5 GW of energy to Angola, Uganda, and Zambia, follow last year’s signing of a 2 GW agreement for renewable energy projects in Tanzania. 

“These further agreements will be transformative to local communities and will help African nations to drive economic growth for their people while still meeting net-zero objectives,” he asserted.

Joao Baptista Borges, Minister of Energy and Water, Republic of Angola, stated that the agreement between the Government of Angola and Masdar, which will go up to 2GW, is another step towards a clean and affordable energy transition. He asserted that the project will improve production capacity, creation of jobs and the access to electricity by the Angolan people.

Ruth Nankabirwa Ssentamu, Minister of Energy and Mineral Development, Republic of Uganda, added that the partnership with Masdar will enable the addition of 1 GW of renewable energy to Uganda's generation capacity. She said that it would contribute to the attainment of the country’s universal access goals and energy transition goals.

Clean Energy Goals

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer, Masdar, stated: “As part of Masdar’s new shareholding structure launched in December, we have a goal of delivering 100GW of clean energy around the world by 2030. 

“With Africa’s massive projected development and growth and low current clean energy penetration levels, we see enormous potential for the renewable energy sector across the continent. The agreements we have signed at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week will support these nations’ clean energy goals and help to drive sustainable economic development for all four countries.”

Victor Benjamin Mapani, ZESCO Managing Director, said that the signing between Masdar and ZESCO was a milestone on an agreement that will see the two parties develop solar energy generation projects to a total capacity of 2GW in a phased approach over the next 10 years. 

“ZESCO, along with Zambia overall, views the development of clean energy that is complementary to hydropower as a matter of urgency for energy security. We are reassured that we have found the right partner with Masdar and can say we are well positioned to deliver value of mutual benefit through this partnership,” he said.

Last August, Masdar had signed an agreement with TANESCO, the sole provider of electricity in Tanzania, to develop renewable energy projects with a total capacity of up to 2GW, also under the umbrella of the Etihad 7 program. The two parties are in the process of finalising the establishment of a joint venture company to advance this strategic collaboration.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), less than half of the Sub-Saharan African population has access to electricity. Africa also generates just 20% of its electricity from renewable sources. The continent has a theoretical potential capacity of approximately 850 terawatts (TW) of solar and wind, according to a report produced last year from Masdar and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, with analytical support provided by McKinsey & Company.

Masdar has already established a considerable presence in Africa, having formed its Infinity Power Holding joint venture with Egypt’s Infinity to target opportunities on the continent. In November, Masdar, Infinity Power and Hassan Allam Utilities signed an agreement with the Government of Egypt to develop a 10GW onshore wind project – one of the largest wind farms in the world. 

The three companies are also cooperating on the development of green hydrogen projects in Egypt, targeting a combined electrolyser capacity of 4 GW by 2030, and an output of up to 480,000 tonnes of green hydrogen per year. Masdar also has projects in Mauritania, Morocco, and the Seychelles. 

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