RES4Africa and IFC Host 3rd Development Partners Forum in Barcelona

Barcelona, June 24, 2024 – RES4Africa Foundation, in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), hosted the 3rd Development Partners Forum today. The event, held ahead of the 2024 Africa Energy Forum, gathered key players from the African energy sector to discuss strategies for boosting private sector involvement in grid infrastructure projects.

The Development Partners Forum (DPF) initiative was launched in 2022 by RES4Africa and IFC to promote private sector investment in Africa’s grid infrastructure. The DPF consists of a series of workshops designed to bring together development partners, public institutions, and private sector parties from across Africa. These workshops aim to share best practices and case studies of private involvement in transmission infrastructure projects and promote more awareness of the needs and benefits of strengthening the sector.

The first DPF workshop, held on November 22, 2022, focused on current investment projects and lessons learned, organized under five themes: wayleaves; business models, remuneration, and payment security; affordability and value for money; ownership, operations, and maintenance; and policy, regulations, and capabilities.

Building on insights from the first session, the second workshop took place on June 19, 2023. The workshop introduced additional topics to ensure a comprehensive understanding of the entire transmission spectrum. The themes covered included financing, payment mechanisms and credit enhancement, enabling environment. The event also showcased successful examples of regulations and policies being implemented to support private sector participation in Transmission in Africa. Participants formed groups to reflect on lessons learned and discussed best practices and challenges in attracting private investments in grid infrastructure projects from various perspectives. The main takeaways from both workshops were summarized in two position papers.

The 3rd Development Partners Forum, held in Barcelona, opened with more detailed case studies on ongoing IPT and PPP transmission projects in  Africa, through interviews with Gridworks Development Partners and Africa50, respectively. These were complemented by an update on the latest developments in the Regional Transmission Infrastructure Financing Facility (RTIFF), presented by the Southern African Power Pool and Climate Fund Managers, highlighting its vision and potential impact on regional development in the sector.

The workshop ended on a high note with a panel discussion featuring experts from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation, African Infrastructure Investment Managers, Africa GreenCo, Enterprise Power Zambia, KETRACO and ERA. The heads of the latter two organisations shared the great progress that has been made in regulations and development of private sector participation in transmission projects in their respective countries. Challenges were debated and tools and opportunities to boost investment and business models to attract private investors were explored as well as possible legal and contractual strategies to mitigate investor risks and enhance financial viability. Innovative ideas and actionable steps were proposed to encourage further investment in transmission infrastructure. RES4Africa and IFC extend their thanks to all the speakers and participants for their contributions, and to Enel Green Power for supporting the event.

The forum was well received by stakeholders interested and active in the sector and sparked good discussions on how to come together to develop the sector towards meeting the burning needs. A summary of the session topics and insights will be shared in the upcoming position paper.

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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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