The International Development Law Unit (IDLU) at the Centre for Human Rights, Faculty of Law, University of Pretoria, in collaboration with the Boston University, Global Development Policy Center, the SADC Development Finance Resource Centre (SADC-DFRC), the SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (SACREEE) and the Development Bank of Southern Africa recently published a report that articulates how development finance can play a significant role in helping SADC countries shift toward more renewable and accessible energy sources for their countries.
The COVID-19 crisis has revealed many of the inherent fragilities in our societies. As countries in Southern Africa recover from the crisis and mobilise to ensure resilience and sustainability are built into their economies, reinvigorating development finance to invest in renewable energy and energy access will be essential for the people and countries of the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
SADC countries face enormous opportunities and challenges in developing their energy infrastructure over the next decades to power development and provide access to all. Currently, the region does not have sufficient reliable supply of energy and electricity, and what energy is available is not easily accessible by large swaths of the SADC region’s population; 8 out of the 16 SADC countries have less than 50% electricity access.
In order for SADC to meet the needs and aspirations of its people, there is a need for a significant increase in investments into the energy sector in general, and renewable energy in particular.
Based on the analysis in this report, we recommend that:
- SADC countries commit to achieving 53 percent renewable energy capacity by 2040, and to align the newly proposed SADC Regional Development Fund with the 53 percent renewable energy target.
- SADC countries make firm national policy commitments and create enabling environments aligned with the 53 percent target, and likewise align their national development finance institutions with that goal.
- Development finance institutions support efforts in preparing and packaging renewable energy projects for financing and implementation to accelerate the attainment of the 53 percent target.
- Development finance institutions support rural and off-grid energisation efforts to attain universal access.
- Global development finance institutions support these renewed efforts by filling the gaps unfulfilled by SADC and its associated development finance institutions, commercial banks, and other financial institutions, including on currency risk.
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