Accelerating renewable energy deployment with regional integration: a 10 years retrospective on West Africa

New RES4Africa’s study identifies regional market integration, de-risking instruments and reliable regulatory frameworks as necessary steps for West Africa’s energy transition

The analysis, carried out with Enel Green Power, is the third publication of the Connecting the Dots series. Presented today during a virtual event, it identifies obstacles, perspectives and recommendations to stimulate RE development in West African countries.

Rome, 30th of November 2022 – Regional market integration, coupled with de-risking instruments and regulatory advancements, are preparatory to an increase in the deployment of renewable energy sources in West Africa, and for a subsequent stronger resilience and adaptation to climate change. These are the main findings of the new study Accelerating renewable energy deployment with regional integration: a 10 years retrospective on West Africa, developed in collaboration with Enel Green Power. The publication is the third publication of the Connecting the Dots series, and it was presented today during the virtual event Connecting the Dots: 10 years of renewable energy in West Africa.

West African countries can boast an abundance of renewable energy natural endowments, potentially sufficient to ferry the region towards full and sustainable energy access. Nevertheless, the share of renewables in the local generation capacity barely touches 21% of the total, and the renewable capacity addition proceeds slowly; This is also caused by a marginal deployment of financial resources: only 2% of the global RES investments are directed to the African continent, an just 8% of this share goes to West Africa. This situation elicits questions upon West Africa’s stance on climate change, as well as on the socioeconomic development possibilities of the local communities.

The new RES4Africa’s publication takes stock of the last 10 years of the West African REs landscape, analysing hindrances, examining political commitment and renewable energy targets, and proposing recommendations for policymaking, sustainable finance, and energy transition pathways. In particular, one of the top priorities emerging from the study and the related online discussion is the necessity to work to achieve a greater market regional integration ; as a matter of fact, some West African countries can boast a surplus in power generation, while other ones experience a deficit. Enhancing cross-border cooperation and trade would allow saving between 5 and 8 billion dollars per year, resources that could be re-allocated to  design effective de-risking tools, update national regulatory frameworks and invest on national grids.

Salvatore Bernabei (CEO of Enel Green Power, Head of Enel Global Power Generation, President at RES4Africa Foundation) commented on the study, stating that « West Africa has enormous renewable energy potential to fuel a sustainable economic growth and create new opportunities at local level. However, resource abundance is not enough: it will be essential to act on various strands of action to turn such potential into reality. A clear regulatory framework, de-risking tools and regional integration are key enablers to attract investments ».

Additionally, Roberto Vigotti, Secretary General of RES4Africa, observed that « Unleashing West Africa's green energy transition can be a driving force for a sustainable socio-economic development. Joint efforts like this one can stimulate dialogue and mitigate the already palpable effects of climate change, for a brighter and greener future in Africa ».

List of Participants ( In order of Intervention):

  • Roberto Vigotti, RES4Africa’s Secretary General;

  • Luca Traini, Access to Energy Programme Manager at  RES4Africa;

  • Daniele Guzzo, Access to Energy Officer at RES4Africa;

  • Jane Feehan, Head of Regional Representation for West Africa at the European Investment Bank;

  • Daniele Paladini, International Institutional Affairs CEO Office at Enel Group;

  • Matthieu Ledauphin, Competitor Intelligence, Market Studies & Strategic Analysis Specialist at Enel Green Power;

  • Marina Diagou, Investment Officer Infrastructure & Natural Resources, Africa at the International Finance Corporation;

  • Silvia Piana, Head of Regulatory Affairs - Africa, Asia and Oceania at Enel Green Power;

  • Salvatore Bernabei, CEO of Enel Green Power, Head of Enel Global Power Generation, President at RES4Africa Foundation.

Download the study

Download the press release

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Africa is a continent in continuous transformation, with a sustained economic and population growth, a fast-paced urbanization and a young generation of talents who is leading its business revolution. This transformation requires energy and will require it even more in the next decades.
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