The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Southern African Development Community’s (SADC) Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together on accelerating the deployment of renewable energy solutions, including decentralised technologies, in Southern African countries. The two organisations will also cooperate on policy development, capacity building programmes and regional events aimed at attracting investments to the region.

IRENA and SADC renewable energy centre

Signing the MoU, IRENA Director-General, Francesco La Camera and SACREEE Executive Director, Kudakwashe Ndhlukula.

Southern Africa has seen remarkable improvement in electricity access over the past decade. This is largely due to a strong commitment from SADC member states to take advantage of the region’s vast renewable energy potential to improve energy security and meet rising energy demand. The total share of renewables in power generation rose from 23% in 2015 to almost 39% in 2018. However, despite significant progress, electricity access remains a challenge.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has re-emphasised the importance of reliable, affordable, clean energy,” said IRENA Director-General, Francesco La Camera. “It has served as a stark reminder that the new energy age must be inclusive, just and low-carbon if we are to achieve sustainable development in Southern Africa and around the world. Africa can seize the moment for meaningful change, and significantly improve socioeconomic outcomes by moving decisively towards the energy transformation. This agreement will bolster regional progress,” La Camera said.

Building capacity in the SADC region, IRENA and SACREEE aim to accelerate renewable energy deployment and achieve universal energy access by creating environments more conducive to renewable energy investments. The two organisations will conduct joint activities under the Africa Clean Energy Corridor (ACEC) in the areas of renewable energy resource assessment, long-term planning, as well as investments, policy, and regulatory and institutional frameworks. Implementation of activities under the ACEC provides a comprehensive opportunity to avoid future greenhouse gas emissions, in line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

“SACREEE has implemented several joint programmatic activities with IRENA since 2017, through the African Clean Energy Corridor initiative and the SADC Renewable Energy Entrepreneurship Support Facility,” said SACREEE Executive Director, Kudakwashe Ndhlukula. “The renewal of this MoU will expand and strengthen our collaboration in areas of mutual interest and given mandates. We appreciate the continued partnership and support from IRENA for our commitment to an energy secure and resilient society by delivering clean, affordable and sustainable energy solutions,” said Ndhlukula.

IRENA and SACREEE will also work together to accelerate renewable energy investments through the implementation of the Southern African Investment Forum, which will facilitate access to sustainable finance in the region. The forum is part of IRENA’s contribution to the Climate Investment Platform (CIP), designed to advance sustainable energy projects to investment maturity and facilitate their access to finance. Key forum activities include matchmaking between projects, project developers, and potential financiers and investors.

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